Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) enacted March 27, 2020 is an economic stimulus measure for individuals, businesses, and hospitals in response to the economic distress caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  It also contained the following provisions that could affect your health plans:

  1. COVID-19 testing coverage must include out-of-network services.  The allowable expense can be limited to the rate the provider must publicly post on its website (if applicable) or at a lower rate negotiated with the provider.
  2. With respect to covered expenses under healthcare accounts, such as HRAs, HSAs and FSAs, the CARES Act:
    • Repeals the ACA exclusion for coverage of over-the-counter drugs with no doctor’s prescription
    • Adds menstrual care products to the list of reimbursable expenses
    • Allows participants to use these accounts to pay for the above items retroactive to January 1, 2020.
  3. Specific to HSA-qualified high deductible health plans (HDHPs), the CARES Act relaxed the HDHP rules to allow the coverage of all telehealth and other remote services without deductible and cost-sharing. The telehealth exception became effective March 27, 2020 and will remain in effect through plan years beginning on or before December 31, 2021.
  4. COVID-19 vaccinations (once available) must be provided at no cost to the participant.  Grandfathered plans are excluded from this requirement.

If you have any questions or concerns about the recent legislative actions related to COVID-19 and your health plan, please contact your Foster & Foster consultant for assistance.