There Are Ways for FSA Holders to Make Use of Their Accounts

With most Americans on lockdown in their homes due to the coronavirus outbreak and elective medical procedures being put on hold, many of those who own a flexible spending account (FSA)—which must be used in the year in which it is taken—are wondering if they will lose out on their savings. With a contribution limit of $2,750, FSA holders are positioned to potentially lose thousands of dollars.

However, some FSA experts note that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act expanded the number of medical devices and medicines FSA holders can use their accounts to buy. Furthermore, changes made by the federal government allow FSA holders to use their FSA dollars to take advantage of telehealth and telemedicine services. Read More: PlanSponsor

 

‘We have a broken system.’ Amid pandemic, Ann Arbor calls for Medicare for All

With tens of millions of Americans without health insurance and filing for unemployment, Ann Arbor officials are calling for health care reform.

City Council went on record this week endorsing the single-payer health insurance proposal known as Medicare for All.

“I don’t know that we could get a better illustration of the need for universal health care than the impact of the pandemic on employment and the fact that, when people need health insurance most, they’re losing their jobs and their health insurance,” said Council Member Jack Eaton, D-4th Ward. Read More: MLive

Health Insurance Providers Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The health and well-being of millions of Americans remains our highest priority. Health insurance providers are committed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus strain COVID-19. We are activating emergency plans to ensure that Americans have access to the prevention, testing, and treatment needed to handle the current situation. Click here for a one-pager to learn how we’re protecting Americans. Read More: AHIP Blog

Most Payers Cover Member Costs for COVID-19 Testing, Treatment

Eighty percent of payers reported fully covering coronavirus testing for their members, according to the Xtelligent survey. No payers said they would not be covering coronavirus testing for their members.

Additionally, 69 percent were fully covering coronavirus treatment for their members. Only eight percent of payers have no plans to cover COVID-19 treatment for their members. Read More: HealthPayer

Ease and Ameritas Partner to Improve Core Employee Benefits Experience

Ease, a leading HR and benefits software solution for small businesses, insurance brokers, and insurance carriers has partnered with Ameritas to provide brokers and HR administrators with better access to core employee benefits.

“This partnership demonstrates our commitment to improving the digital benefits experience for brokers, employers, and their employees,” said Drew Fleming, Senior Vice President of Group Distribution and National Partners at Ameritas. “We are delighted to add our strong distribution relationships to Ease’s innovative system and to providing a superior online benefits experience for our brokers and those they serve. We look forward to the improved experience for employees and HR professionals as they access Ameritas’ benefits on the Ease software.” Read More: BusinessWire

PeopleKeep Introduces HRA Product for Employers With Group Health Plans

PeopleKeep has released the Group Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (GCHRA), which allows employers offering a group health policy to supplement their employees’ out-of-pocket expenses tax-free.

Using the GCHRA, employers of all types and sizes are able to extend the benefits of an HRA to employees under a group health coverage plan. PeopleKeep’s cloud-based software enables employers to log in to an online portal to administer their HRA in only minutes each month. Read More: PlanSponsor

Benefitfocus Offers Benefits Platform for Laid Off Employees

Benefitfocus is making a variety of affordable health plans available for employees who have been offered COBRA by employers with a new platform.

The benefitplace.com website provides high-quality, cost-effective benefits to employers who are facing a cycle of workforce transition and their affected employees. Within Benefitplace, workers who have been displaced and need options will be able to access health plans, supplemental benefits, and employment resources, like temporary or freelance employment opportunities with Benefitplace partners and customers.

“We wanted to set up a community where HR and benefits people can access information around furloughs and layoff best practices, third party articles, contributions from our own HR and benefits team,” says Jeff Oldham, a senior vice president with Benefitfocus. Read More: EBN

Coronavirus Drives Health Insurers Back to Obamacare

Health insurers fled the Affordable
Care Act in the early years of the law, fearing that losses from
covering too many sick people would eat away at their profits.

Now the insurers increasingly view Obamacare as a boon while job-based health coverage faces its biggest threat yet in a crashing economy. Read More: Politico

IRS Expands Election and Reimbursement Periods for Health Benefits, FSAs

The IRS released guidance to allow temporary changes to Section 125 cafeteria plans, extending the claims period for health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs and allowing employees to make mid-year changes.

The IRS explains that the guidance addresses unanticipated changes in expenses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More. PlanSponsor

Could we now see be a new push to expand health coverage?

The elephant in this proverbial room is America’s
embarrassingly high uninsured rate — above 10 percent before the crisis
started and significantly higher now that millions are unemployed and
losing their health insurance.

This is the fundamental immorality of US health care that
the coronavirus has exposed again: How can anybody in the richest
country in the world lack financial protection in a medical emergency?

But any significant expansion of health coverage probably depends on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Read More:  Vox