The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) has released Notice 2019-45 to add care for a range of chronic conditions to the list of preventive care benefits that can be provided by a high deductible health plan (HDHP) without imposing a deductible.

The notice, which went into effect July 17, provides HDHP plans the flexibility to cover specified medications and medical services used to treat certain chronic diseases prior to a plan member meeting their annual deductible.

As Apex Benefits recently shared in the 2019 Indiana Employee Benefits Benchmarking Report, Hoosier employers tend to offer HDHP plans at a far higher rate than the rest of the nation (49% versus 29%).  This change in IRS regulation reinforces the opportunity to improve care for many Indiana HDHP plan members and reduce the cost burden for many families.

The Apex team of benefits strategists has long encouraged clients to offer preventative and maintenance medication coverage alongside their HDHP plan.

To qualify as an HDHP, the plan cannot provide benefits for any year until a minimum deductible is satisfied. However, an HDHP may provide benefits for preventive care without imposing a deductible.

HDHP preventive care conditions zywave

Chart copyright Zywave 2019

IRS Notice 2019-45 expands care for specified chronic conditions to the list of HDHP preventive care benefits enabling employers utilizing such plans to further invest in employee wellness by covering the treatment of the most prevalent and highest cost chronic diseases – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma and depression.

This also is intended to further assist patients in maintaining their health status and ensure the likelihood they will not be impeded by cost barriers to care that may cause them to discontinue use of important and often life-saving medications or treatments.

Review IRS Notice 2019-45 for more information and a list of services classified as preventive.

More details also available in this Compliance Bulletin provided by Apex and Zywave.

ACTION NEEDED: Employers with HDHPs should review benefit plan documents with their benefits advisors or consult with their carriers to determine how their plans cover preventive care benefits.