Reed Smith Client Alerts

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, on March 11, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-15, stating that a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP) will not be disqualified as a result of the health plan providing medical care services and items purchased related to testing for and treatment of COVID-19 before the individual meets their deductible.

This notice comes after several states began requiring insurance carriers to waive health plan cost-sharing, such as co-payments, coinsurance, or deductibles, for certain COVID-19 services. Before Notice 2020-15, it was unclear as to whether providing such services would disqualify an HDHP under section 223(c)(2)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). 

Section 223 of the Code permits eligible individuals to make tax-free contributions to a health savings account (HSA) provided the individual is covered under an HDHP and has no disqualifying health coverage. As defined in Code section 223(c)(2), an HDHP is a health plan that satisfies certain requirements, including requirements with respect to minimum deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket expenses. Although preventive and certain infectious disease screening services are permitted to be provided prior to the participant meeting their deductible, such services do not generally include any service or benefit intended to treat an existing illness, injury, or condition.