On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) became law. The CARES Act amends certain provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). CARES also temporarily eliminates the application of deductibles for certain services in HSA Qualified High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), and temporarily expands the list of qualified expenses reimbursable through HSAs, HRAs, and FSAs.
Amendments to the FFCRA
The CARES Act clarifies that employers will not need to pay employees for the emergency sick leave or emergency FMLA (“eFMLA”) in excess of the daily and aggregate amounts employers are otherwise obligated to pay. In addition, the CARES Act provides:
The CARES Act also changes some of the FFCRA provisions applicable to group health plans by:
Health Plan Related Changes
The CARES Act impacts health plans in the following ways:
• HSA Qualified HDHPs are temporarily permitted to provide virtual health (aka tele-health, tele-medicine, tele-doc) and other remote care services without the HDHP’s deductible. (Note: This provision is effective immediately and will end with the last day of the plan year that begins on or before December 31, 2021.)
• Over-the-counter (OTC) medications and drugs, as well as menstrual care products may be reimbursed through a health savings account (“HSA”), flexible spending account (“FSA”) or health reimbursement arrangement (“HRA”). Note: These changes apply to amounts paid (for HSAs) or incurred (for FSAs and HRAs) after December 31, 2019.
• Group health plans are required to cover, without cost-sharing, any qualifying coronavirus preventative service. As a reminder, the term “cost sharing” refers to health insurance copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. (Note: This requirement is effective for any particular service within 15 days of when the US Preventative Services Task Force or the Advisory Committees on Immunization Practices deems the service or vaccine as qualified.)
Additional Relevant Provisions