How Will COVID 19 Affect My Health Insurance 1

How Will COVID-19 Affect My Group Insurance Plan?

As a small business owner, you try to provide the best health insurance coverage possible for your employees while saving money on your group health insurance rates. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected both your rates and your coverage. Is treatment for COVID-19 covered on your plan? What about vaccinations?

It is essential to know what type of coverage is available for the pandemic and passes that information on to your employees. If you are unsure about what type of treatment is covered, the best resource is to speak with a health insurance broker, who can answer your questions, update you on the latest news, and make recommendations on adjusting your insurance plan accordingly.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law. The Act includes the following provisions for group health plans:

  • Free COVID-19 testing without copays, coinsurance, or deductibles are available.
  • Benefits extend to in-person visits and telehealth services.
  • However, free coverage does extend to follow-up COVID-related medical care.
  • Patient cost-sharing for COVID-19 for diagnostic testing is eliminated.

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, self-funded and fully insured group health plans must provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related services at no cost to the employee. The new law requires free coverage without pre-authorization or other medical management requirements for testing.

Internal Revenue Service Notice 2020-15

In addition to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the IRS issued Notice 2020-15 permitting high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to provide cost-free COVID-19 testing and treatment without violating the health savings accounts (HSA) rules. Under the notice, payment for COVID-19 testing and treatment under the HDHP can be considered preventive care.

Under Internal Revenue Code Section 223(c)(2)(A), only preventive care can be offered free to participants in an HDHP. A violation of the code would disqualify tax-favored treatment of HSA contributions. 

However, with the relief provided by Notice 2020-15, COVID-19 testing and treatment will not jeopardize the tax benefits of HSA contributions, as those benefits will be considered preventive care for purposes of the underlying HDHP. Keep in mind that all testing and diagnostics only apply to COVID-19-related treatment.

Your Role as an Employer 

Now that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act has been signed into law, you as an employer must take appropriate steps to comply with the coverage requirements. By law, your insurance provider must provide a plan amendment and summary of changes. You will also need to review the group health plans and notify participants to explain these changes.

Additional COVID-19 Health Insurance Bills and Guidelines

A third bill — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — is currently underway in the Senate, while the House considers the proposed Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act. As such, you will need to continue to monitor the progress of these bills and other COVID-19-related legislation and guidance and provide updates along the way.

For additional guidance on how this new legislation may impact your business, or information on other issues related to group health plan coverage challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, contact your Insurance Enterprise health insurance broker. 

Contact Insurance Enterprise for Premier Health Insurance

If you have questions about group or individual health insurance and need health insurance quotes, contact Insurance Enterprise at 888-350-6605. Speak to a licensed agent and find out more about how you can get an affordable health insurance plan.