Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act Signed Into Law

On Friday, March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to aid businesses, workers, and the U.S. healthcare system in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The CARES Act contains the following key provisions that affect health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), and health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs):

·      A high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a health savings account (HSA) will be allowed to cover telehealth and other remote care services prior to an individual reaching the deductible. This allows HDHP participants to receive first-dollar coverage for these services without disqualifying them from being eligible to contribute to a health savings account (HSA). This provision is temporarily in effect beginning January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021.

·      Non-prescribed, over-the-counter medicine and medical supplies are now covered as qualified medical expenses for HSA, HRA, and health FSA purposes. This includes over-the-counter menstrual care products. The changes take place retroactive to January 1, 2020 with no expiration date. This provision reverses laws put in place as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2011, which stated that over-the-counter expenses were only eligible for reimbursement with a prescription.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Full implementation of the second provision listed above requires SIGIS (Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards) and merchants to take action. Our benefit card provider anticipates that SIGIS and merchant release of the new eligible item list will occur gradually within the next 4-6 weeks.


DOL Issues New Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

On Friday, March 27, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued further guidance on the FFCRA, including the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. This guidance includes the following:

·      Leaves must be taken in full-day increments

·      Leaves can only be used intermittently for childcare reasons

·      Shelter-in-place and business closures will not qualify for leaves

·      Employees will not be eligible for leaves during furloughs and temporary layoffs

See the full DOL Questions and Answers for complete details, including factors used to determine if an employer is below the 500-employee threshold and appropriate documentation to verify the need for leaves.