IRS Releases Guidance on COVID-19

March 17, 2020

Cherry Bekaert Benefits Consulting (“CBBC”) is closely monitoring the impact COVID-19 has on employers’ benefit programs and their employees. Knowing how important a healthy and safe workforce is to your business, CBBC would like to share some relevant information.

Many health insurance carriers are supporting efforts to mitigate further outbreak by minimizing or eliminating costs associated with COVID-19 testing. Employers should work with their health insurance carrier to understand choices specific to their plan. If you are not getting current updates on how this pandemic is impacting your workforce and their benefits, feel free to contact one of our benefit consultants.

The Department of Labor recently released guidance and FAQs on how employers should handle COVID-19 employment issues related to FMLA. If you have questions on the information in the Q&A, contact employment counsel.

The IRS released guidance on COVID-19 testing and the tax impact on high deductible health plans (“HDHP”). Notice 2020-15 provides tax relief to health insurance as a result of the public health emergency posed by COVID-19, and addresses the need to remove administrative and financial barriers to the testing or treatment of COVID-19. If your health insurance otherwise fulfills the requirements of a HDHP under Section 223(c)(2)(A), the plan will still be a HDHP, even if it provides for medical care services and purchases related to COVID-19 testing or treatment prior to meeting the applicable deductible. Any employees covered by this type of insurance will remain eligible individuals under section 223(c)(1).

Lastly, the House Appropriation Committee released a summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which would expand the government response to COVID-19. This Bill is not final law, and needs both Senate and Executive approval prior to enactment, so changes are to be expected. We are closely monitoring this potential new legislation and will update you as more clarity is provided.

If you have any questions, please contact Kyle Frigon at Cherry Bekaert Benefits Consulting.