Recently there have been multiple regulatory announcements regarding Section 125 Cafeteria Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Please be mindful that not every announcement applies to every plan type, nor to all configurations of a given plan type.
On May 12th, the IRS released Notice 2020-29 and 2020-33. These notices provided new relaxed rules for 2020 for making elections under Cafeteria plans, using amounts during a grace period or carryover period changes to the method determining the carryover amounts under Health FSAs and clarifying which premiums can be reimbursed under ICHRAs. The following is an explanation of both notices.
On May 4, 2020 Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) issued a final ruling regarding the extension of certain COBRA timeframes during the COVID-19 National Emergency in its “Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak” notice. The intent of this ruling is to provide relief that is immediately needed to preserve and protect the benefits or participants and beneficiaries in all employee benefit plans across the Unites States during the National Emergency.
IRS and DOL Provide Relief for Participants and Plan Sponsors from Certain Time Deadlines Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Yesterday, recognizing the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor released guidance that extends the period of time that a participant has in enrolling in coverage under a health plan, paying for COBRA continuation coverage, submitting claims for coverage and disputing denials of claims for benefits. The guidance also extends the period of time that a group health plan sponsor or administrator has to provide a COBRA election notice. Agency FAQs were also released related to the guidance. Essentially, the guidance provides that actions that must be taken with the time period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the time the federal government declares the COVID-19 emergency (referred to as the “Outbreak Period”) has ended will be disregarded .
The guidance states that the following actions that are required to be taken during the Outbreak Period are extended until after the Outbreak Period ends:
This law has many important components, one of which permanently reinstates coverage of Over the Counter (OTC) drugs and medicines as items eligible for reimbursement under Code 213(d) expenses in FSA, HRA, and HSA plans. With this law, the drugs and medicines will no longer require participants to have a prescription to prove eligibility. In addition to the reinstatement of OTC eligibility, the bill expands the eligible OTC definition to include menstrual care products (i.e. tampons, pads, etc.).
COVID-19 Update - Please forward this communication to others in your organization who may need it.
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Manual Claim Reimbursement: these can be submitted electronically either by uploading information through the participant portal, using the camera feature with our mobile application or faxing to our secure fax viewer.
Monthly Administrative Service Fee Invoices Payments: communications have been sent to all AP contacts for each organization. Within the communication, we identify alternative methods of payment.
COBRA and Direct Billing: If you are currently receiving your remittances by check we ask that you sign up for ACH. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we continue to monitor developments and consider American Benefits Group’s response and contingency plans in the context of the coronavirus developments, our priority is the safety of our employees and ensuring our ability to continue to service our clients’ needs.
Our Critical Response Group is composed of leaders and subject matter experts across our business lines. This group is meeting daily to assess the impact across our business and in our communities, advise the executive management, develop and deploy actions.
Today, the IRS announced Revenue Procedure 2019-44 which provides the 2020 cost-of-living increases for inflation for certain items. In 2020, the:
Annual Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contribution limits will increase $50 from the current amount of $2,700 to $2,750
Monthly limit for Transit and Parking will increase $5 each from the current amount of $265 to $270
Annual maximum reimbursement for a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) will increase $100 for individual coverage from the current amount of $5,150 to $5,250, and the maximum reimbursement amount will increase $150 for family coverage from the current amount of $10,450 to $10,600
As a reminder, the IRS announced 2020 health savings account (HSA) contributions limit increases. In 2020, the annual HSA contribution limit for individual coverage will increase $50 from the current $3,500 to $3,550, and the family coverage contribution limit will increase $100 from the current $7,000 to $7,100.
If you have any questions, please contact American Benefits Group for more information.
American Benefits Group CEO and Founder Bob Cummings Reelected as President of NAPBA May 28th 2019 - Bob Cummings has been reelected to serve as President of The National Association of Professional Benefits Administrators (NAPBA). A NAPBA Trustee since 2007, Cummings was first elected NAPBA president in 2015, and has been an instrumental force in the emergence of the Consumer Directed HealthCare industry over the last 20 years, orchestrating the growth of NAPBA as the primary compliance standards and best practice organization for third party employee benefits administrators serving the consumer directed healthcare industry.
Today, the IRS announced Revenue Procedure 2018-57 which provides the 2019 cost-of-living increases for inflation for certain items. In 2019, the:
Annual healthcare flexible spending account (FSA) contribution limits will increase $50 from the current amount of $2,650 to $2,700
Monthly limit for transit and parking will increase $5 from the current amount of $260 to $265
Annual maximum reimbursement for a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA) will increase $100 for individual coverage from the current amount of $5,050 to $5,150, and the maximum reimbursement amount will increase $200 for family coverage from the current amount of $10,250 to $10,450
As a reminder, on May 10, 2018, the IRS announced 2019 health savings account (HSA) contributions limit increases. In 2019, the annual HSA contribution limit for individual coverage will increase $50 from the current $3,450 to $3,500, and the family coverage contribution limit will increase $100 from the current $6,900 to $7,000.
If you have any questions, please contact your Service Delivery Manager for more information.
The senior management team at American Benefits Group was pleased to present this contribution on July 26th, to Sarah Smith, Director of Development, Safe Passage, an organization dedicated to the prevention and protection from domestic violence. In recognition of ABG being recognized as the 2018 Alegeus APEX winner for Operational Excellence and Efficiency, we were honored to select Safe Passage as our charitable recipient.
American Benefits Group (ABG) of Northampton MA, a leading national benefits service and solution provider in the health benefits industry has been recognized by healthcare benefits payments giant Alegeus as the 2018 APEX Award winner for Operational Efficiency and Excellence. The award was presented at the Alegeus National Conference on May 16th in Orlando Florida.
On April 26, 2018, the IRS announced (through Rev. Proc. 2018-27) that the 2018 HSA maximum family contribution is reverting back to the original $6,900. As reported in March the IRS had previously announced a decreased limit of $6,850 (Rev. Proc. 2018-18).
In restating the original limit of $6,900, the IRS shared many reasons for the decision, including taxpayer complaints that the $50 limit reduction imposed “numerous unanticipated administrative and financial burdens” for those that had already maxed out their contributions before the reduction was announced, and administrators who had to modify their systems to reflect the reduction. Most interestingly, some stakeholders had pointed out the fact that Section 223 of the IRC requires the IRS to publish the annual inflation adjustments by June 1 of the preceding calendar year.
As a result of the new announcement, HSA eligible individuals with family coverage may now contribute up to $6,900 for 2018. Employers wanting to take advantage of the increased limit will need to make the appropriate adjustments in their payroll and benefits administration systems, if they had previously change the systems to reflect the $6,850 limit.
A further complication comes with the new announcement: Some employees had already maxed out the $6,900 before the March 5, 2018, reduction announcement. To help the employees avoid the 6 percent excise penalty tax for excess contributions, the employers already completed the corrective action of distributing the excess $50. Now, with the limit back at $6,900, that $50 is no longer considered an excess contribution. If the $50 was associated with employer contributions or employee pretax contributions, it would now be considered a nonqualified distribution, subject to a 20 percent excise penalty tax (plus income tax). To avoid the tax, the employees will need to work with the employer and HSA bank/trustee to repay the $50 to the HSA. The repayment will need to take place by April 15, 2019. Again, this last complication only applies to those employees who maxed out their contribution prior to March 5, 2018, due to employer or employee pretax contributions and whose employers had already refunded the excess $50 to them.