With the United States beginning to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, many taxpayers will have to confront another harsh reality: how to pay for the advanced medical care that could be needed to save their lives.
Some help on that front comes from an IRS ruling that says high-deductible health plans, known as HDHPs, can indeed pay for related testing and treatment of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus known as COVID-19, without jeopardizing the status of the plan.
The ruling also means an individual with an HDHP that covers coronavirus costs may continue to contribute to an HSA or health savings account.
The IRS decision is outlined in Notice 2020-15, which has been posted on IRS.gov. The agency says health plans otherwise qualifying as HDHPs won’t lose that status just because they cover the cost of testing or treatment related to COVID-19 before deductibles have been met. As in the past, any vaccination costs continue to count as preventive care and can also be paid by an HDHP.
It should be noted that Notice 2020-15 applies only to HSA-eligible HDHPs. Employees and other taxpayers in any other kind of health plan should contact their plan administrators or providers with any specific questions about what their plan covers – and doesn’t.