Page 1 of 1
For 2021, the dollar limit for employee contributions to health flexible spending accounts (health FSAs) through salary reductions remains unchanged at $2,750, the IRS announced on Oct. 27 when it issued Revenue Procedure 2020-45.
For health FSA plans that permit the carryover of unused amounts, the maximum carryover amount for 2021 is $550, an increase of $50 from the original 2020 carryover limit.
The guidance also includes annual cost of living adjustments (COLAs), if any were made, for other employee benefit plans. For instance, for tax year 2021, the monthly limit for qualified transportation benefits remains $270, as is the monthly limit for qualified parking.
The IRS a day earlier announced 2021 contribution limits for 401(k) and similar defined contribution plans and annual limit adjustments for defined benefit pension plans.
The IRS released 2021 HSA contribution limits in May, giving employers and HSA administrators plenty of time to adjust their systems for the new year. The individual HSA contribution limit will be $3,600 (up from $3,550) and the family contribution limit will be $7,200 (up from $7,100).
IRS Notice 2020-33, issued on May 12 as part of COVID-19 relief, raised the amount of funds that health FSA plans can carry over for 2020 to $550, up from $500. For 2021, the maximum carryover amount remains $550.
There are two options for FSA extensions; employers can adopt either or neither, but can’t offer both:
Today the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2016-55 confirming a $50 increase in the health FSA contribution limit to $2,600.
With the passing of the ACA, employee contributions to an FSA were initially limited to $2500 per plan year. This has increased since 2014 to adjust for inflation with the limit being bumped up slightly to $2550 for 2015 & 2016 plan years.
Now, for health FSA plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, we have a new increase in the salary reduction contribution limit to $2,600. Be sure to double-check your Section 125 cafeteria plan document to confirm that it automatically incorporates these health FSA cost-of-living increases or to see if you need to specifically request to have the cap increased.
Earlier this year, the IRS also announced the inflation adjusted amounts for 2017 HSA contributions in Revenue Procedure 2016-28. For individuals in self-only coverage, the 2017 contribution limit will increase to $3,400 (up from $3,350). The family coverage contribution limit remains at $6,750 again in 2017.
The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), introduced in 2014 the Transitional Reinsurance Fee (“Fee”) in an effort to fund reinsurance payments to health insurance issuers that cover high-risk individuals in the individual market and to stabilize insurance premiums in the market for the 2014 through 2016 years. The Fee has also been instituted to pay administrative costs related to the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program.
BACKGROUND ON TRANSITIONAL REINSURANCE PROGRAM
The ACA established a transitional reinsurance program to provide payments to health insurance issuers that cover high risk individuals in an attempt to evenly spread the financial risk of issuers. The program is designed to provide issuers with greater payment stability as insurance market reforms are implemented and the state-based health insurance exchanges/marketplaces facilitate increased enrollment. It is expected that the program will reduce the uncertainty of insurance risk in the individual market by partially offsetting issuers’ risk associated with high-cost enrollees. In an effort to fund the program, the ACA created the Fee which is a temporary fee that is assessed on health insurance issuers and plan sponsors of self-funded health plans. The Fee is applicable for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 years and is deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense.
The Fee is generally applicable to all health insurance plans providing major medical coverage including sponsors of self-insured group health plans. Major medical coverage is defined as health coverage for a broad range of services and treatments, including diagnostic and preventive services, as well as medical and surgical conditions in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room settings. Since COBRA continuation coverage generally qualifies as major medical coverage, the Fee will also apply in this instance. It does not, however, apply to employer provided major medical coverage that is secondary to Medicare.
The Fee, as currently structured, does not apply to various other types of plans including (but not limited to) health savings accounts (H.S.A.s), employee assistance plans (EAP) or wellness programs that do not provide major medical coverage, health reimbursement arrangements integrated with a group health plan (HRA), health flexible spending accounts (FSA) and coverage that consists of only excepted benefits (e.g. stand-alone dental and vision).
AMOUNT OF THE FEE
The Fee for the 2015 benefit year is equal to $44 per covered life. It is expected that the Fee for the 2015 benefit year will generate approximately $8 billion in revenue. The Fee for the 2016 year is expected to be $27 per covered life and will raise approximately $5 billion in revenue. Thereafter, the Fee is set to expire and no longer be applicable. The fee for 2014 was $63 per covered life.
REPORTING THE NUMBER OF COVERED LIVES AND PAYING THE FEE
The 2015 ACA Transitional Reinsurance Program Annual Enrollment and Contributions Submission Form will be available on www.pay.gov on October 1, 2015. The form for 2014 is also available on this website. Please note there is a separate form for each benefit year. For the 2015 year, the number of covered lives must be reported to the Department no later than November 16, 2015. The Department will then notify reporting organizations no later than December 15, 2015 the amount of the fee that will be due and payable.
As with the 2014 benefit year, the Department of Health and Human Services has given contributing entities two different options to make the payment. Under the first option, the first portion of the Fee ($33 per covered life) is due and payable no later than January 15, 2016 (30 days after issuance of the notice from the Department). This portion of the Fee will cover reinsurance payments and administrative expenses. The second portion of the Fee ($11 per covered life) will cover Treasury’s administrative costs associated with the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program and will be due no later than November 15, 2016.
Under the second payment option, contributing entities can opt to pay the full amount ($44 per covered life) by January 15, 2016.
As the number of covered lives is due to be reported no later than November 16th of this year, employers should review their types of health coverage and determine which plans are subject to the Fee. Employers that have fully insured plans should be on the lookout for potential increased premiums as the insurance carrier is responsible to report and pay the Fee on behalf of the plan in these instances. Those with self funded medical coverage need to be sure to report and pay the fe
The IRS and Social Security Administration released the 2015 cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments that apply to health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) in Revenue Procedure 2014-61. The new annual limit for health FSAs, including general-purpose and limited-purpose health FSAs, is $2,550 for plan years starting on or after January 1, 2015.
The $2,550 limit is prorated for short plan years (plan years that are shorter than 12 months) and any carry over amount from participants’ previous plan years may be added to the limit. For instance, participants may elect $2,550 for the 2015 plan year and carry over a maximum of $500 from the previous plan year, making their total account value $3,050 for the 2015 plan year. In other words, the $500 carryover does not count against or affect the $2,550 salary reduction limit. Please note that an employer must decide to allow to either offer participants a option of a max $500 carryover OR the 2.5 month extension to use funds. An employer can not offer both options under their plan.
On October 31, 2013, the US Treasury and the IRS issued Notice 2013-71, which modifies the “use it or lose it” rule for Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).
A Healthcare FSA is a form of cafeteria plan benefit offered by employers to allow their employees to pay for eligible out of pocket healthcare expenses with pre-tax dollars. Healthcare FSAs are typically funded by salary reduction contributions. Effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2012, and employee’s contributions to a Healthcare FSA are limited to $2500 per year (indexed for inflation beginning in 2014).
Historically, these contributions were also subject to a “use it or lose it” rule which provided that contribution to plan that are not used before the end of the plan’s fiscal year would be forfeited. This rule was modified several years ago to permit a plan to add a “grace period” of 2 ½ months following the end of the plan’s fiscal year to allow employees an extra amount of time to use their FSA funds before losing them.
The new rules issued by the IRS permit another option that employers may want to consider. An employer may amend its plan document to permit a carryover of up to $500 for any unused FSA funds at the end of the plan year. The carryover, if permitted in the plan, may be used to pay medical expenses incurred during the plan year to which it is carried over, and would be in addition to the $2500 employee contribution limit.
A plan adopting the new carryover option is not permitted to also provide a grace period. An employer must decide to either provide a grace period or the new carryover option, but not both. Of course, an employer may choose to provide for a carryover limit of less than $500, or not to permit the carryover or grace period at all, as these are both entirely optional. When deciding whether or not to eliminate a grace period in favor of the new carryover option, an employer may want to compare the potential administrative impact of each option.
As mentioned above, the new carryover rule is not available during a plan year in which the plan permits a grace period. Therefore, plans containing a grace period must first be amended to remove it if the employer wants to add a carryover provision. The amendment to remove the grace period must be adopted before the end of the plan year in which it becomes effective. For example, if an employers wants to permit employees to carryover up to $500 from the 2014 plan year to the 2015 plan year, the employer must amend the plan and provide participants with notice of the amendment before the end of the 2014 plan year.
Please contact our office for more information on how to implement an FSA into your workplace or amend your existing plan document.