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Payments for Certain Healthcare Arrangements are Tax Deductible

The IRS recently issued proposed regulations that address the treatment of amounts paid by an individual for a “direct primary care arrangement” or a “health care sharing ministry” (collectively, the “Arrangements”) as being tax-deductible “medical care expenses” under Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). Under the proposed regulations, a direct primary care arrangement (“DPC Arrangement”) is defined as a contract between the individual and one or more primary care physicians pursuant to which the physician(s) agree to provide medical care for a fixed annual or periodic fee without billing a third party. A health care sharing ministry (“Sharing Ministry”) is defined as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code that meets specified requirements, including that its members share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses in accordance with those beliefs. HSAs and the Arrangements. The preamble to the proposed regulations confirms… Continue Reading

COVID-19 Relief – Added Flexibility to Code Section 125 Cafeteria Plans

Prospective Mid-Year Election Changes IRS Notice 2020-29 allows employers to amend cafeteria plans to permit employees to make the following prospective mid-year election changes (including an initial election) for employer-sponsored health coverage, health flexible spending accounts (“FSAs”), and dependent care FSAs during calendar year 2020, regardless of whether the basis for the election change satisfies the “change in status” rules under Treas. Reg. § 1.125-4: Make a new election for employer-sponsored health coverage, if the employee initially declined to elect employer-sponsored health coverage; Revoke an existing election for employer-sponsored health coverage and make a new election to enroll in different health coverage sponsored by the same employer (including changing enrollment from self-only to family coverage); Revoke an existing election for employer-sponsored health coverage, provided the employee attests in writing that the employee is enrolled, or immediately will enroll, in other health coverage not sponsored by the employer; and Revoke an… Continue Reading

COVID-19 Relief – Added Flexibility to 125 Cafeteria Plans

Prospective Mid-Year Election Changes IRS Notice 2020-29 allows employers to amend cafeteria plans to permit employees to make the following prospective mid-year election changes (including an initial election) for employer-sponsored health coverage, health flexible spending accounts (“FSAs”), and dependent care FSAs during calendar year 2020, regardless of whether the basis for the election change satisfies the “change in status” rules under Treas. Reg.  §1.125-4: Make a new election for employer-sponsored health coverage, if the employee initially declined to elect employer-sponsored health coverage; Revoke an existing election for employer-sponsored health coverage and make a new election to enroll in different health coverage sponsored by the same employer (including changing enrollment from self-only coverage to family coverage); Revoke an existing election for employer-sponsored health coverage, provided that the employee attests in writing that the employee is enrolled, or immediately will enroll, in other health coverage not sponsored by the employer; Revoke an… Continue Reading

COVID-19 EMPLOYEE BENEFIT AND EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

In light of the recent economic developments stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are evaluating their employee benefit plans and how employee and employer costs will be impacted. The following summary provides a list of questions we have been receiving from clients over the past week, along with action items to help employers address these issues. Health and Welfare Plans and Fringe Benefits Should benefits coverage continue while an employee is on an unpaid furlough? If so, how would the employee pay the employee’s portion of the premium? Could the employee elect to drop coverage due to the reduction in hours of active service? Could the employer pay for coverage for some or all of its furloughed employees? Continued eligibility for benefits will depend on whether the employer treats the furlough as a termination of employment or as an unpaid leave of absence. The terms of the plan, including… Continue Reading

IRS Releases 2020 Inflation-Adjusted Amounts for HSAs and HDHPs

The IRS recently issued Revenue Procedure 2019-25, which sets the 2020 calendar year limits on (i) annual contributions that can be made to a health savings account (“HSA”) and (ii) annual deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums under a high deductible health plan (“HDHP”). The 2020 limits are as follows: Annual HSA contribution limits: $3,550 for self-only coverage ($50 increase from 2019); $7,100 for family coverage ($100 increase from 2019) Minimum HDHP deductibles: $1,400 for self-only coverage ($50 increase from 2019); $2,800 for family coverage ($100 increase from 2019) HDHP out-of-pocket maximum limits: $6,900 for self-only coverage ($150 increase from 2019); $13,800 for family coverage ($300 increase from 2019) View Rev. Proc. 2019-25.

IRS Highlights Circumstances Permitting Recoupment of Erroneous HSA Contributions

Section 223 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that an individual’s interest in the balance of her health savings account (“HSA”) is not subject to forfeiture. Consequently, contributions made by an employer to an employee’s HSA may be recouped only in very limited circumstances. In IRS Notice 2008-59 (the “Notice”), the IRS described several specific circumstances in which an employer may recoup contributed amounts from the HSA trustee. However, in its recently released Information Letter 2018-0033 (the “Letter”), the IRS confirmed that the circumstances discussed in the Notice were not intended to be exclusive and clarified that if there is clear documentary evidence demonstrating an administrative or process error on the part of the employer or the HSA trustee (an “HSA Process Error”), an employer may request that the HSA trustee return the amounts to the employer, with any correction needed to put the parties in the same position they… Continue Reading

IRS Releases 2019 Inflation-Adjusted Amounts for HSAs and HDHPs

The IRS recently issued Revenue Procedure 2018-30, which sets the 2019 calendar year limits on (i) annual contributions that can be made to a health savings account (“HSA”) and (ii) annual deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums under a high deductible health plan (“HDHP”). The 2019 limits are as follows: Annual HSA contribution limits: $3,500 for self-only coverage ($50 increase from 2018); $7,000 for family coverage ($100 increase from 2018) Minimum HDHP deductibles: $1,350 for self-only coverage (no change from 2018); $2,700 for family coverage (no change from 2018) HDHP out-of-pocket maximum limits: $6,750 for self-only coverage ($100 increase from 2018); $13,500 for family coverage ($200 increase from 2018) View Rev. Proc. 2018-30.

2018 HSA Contribution Limit Transition Relief

The IRS has issued guidance stating that taxpayers may use $6,900 as the maximum health savings account (“HSA”) contribution limit for family coverage for 2018. In 2017, the IRS stated that the maximum HSA contribution for family coverage for 2018 would be $6,900. However, recent tax reform legislation changed how the contribution limit is calculated, and in March of 2018, the IRS issued a reduced limit for 2018 of $6,850. The new IRS guidance now permits taxpayers to continue to treat the 2018 limit as $6,900 and also provides guidance for taxpayers who already received a distribution of an excess contribution in 2018 based on the $6,850 limit. View the guidance in Rev. Proc. 2018-27.

IRS Transition Relief for State Contraception Laws Creating HSA Eligibility Issues

Recently, several states expanded their contraceptive coverage mandates under the applicable state’s insurance laws to require medical insurance policies to cover certain male contraceptive services (e.g., vasectomies) on a first dollar basis before an insured has met the policy’s annual deductible. This is problematic for an insured medical plan that is intended to qualify as a high deductible health plan (“HDHP”). An HDHP enables participants to make or receive contributions to a health savings account (“HSA”). Unless an exception applies (such as coverage for preventive services, disease management, or wellness services), a medical plan that provides benefits before an individual has met the annual deductible cannot qualify as an HDHP. The IRS recently released Notice 2018-12, which provides that male contraceptive coverage will not qualify for an exception from this rule as a preventive service or under another exception. The IRS has granted temporary transition relief for the HSA eligibility… Continue Reading

IRS Reduces HSA Family Coverage Contribution Limit for 2018, Effective Immediately

On March 5, 2018, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2018-18 (“Rev. Proc. 2018-18”), which, among other things, reduced by $50 the maximum annual contribution that an employee who has elected family coverage under the employer’s high deductible health plan (“HDHP”) could make to his or her health savings account (“HSA”) for 2018. Under the Internal Revenue Code, the applicable limits for HSAs are adjusted annually for any cost-of-living adjustments (“COLA”). Prior to the recent enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) (the “Tax Act”), COLAs were based on the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”). The Tax Act changed the basis of COLAs to instead use the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“C-CPI-U”). The HSA family coverage contribution limit that was previously announced by the IRS for 2018 was $6,900, which reflected a CPI-based COLA. The revised limit, pursuant to Rev. Proc. 2018-18 and reflecting the… Continue Reading

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