First up, ‘Claims Run-out Deadline Extended for COVID-19 FSAs & HRAs.’ At the end of last month, The Feds (Departments of Labor, Revenue, and Treasury) issued guidelines relaxing the benefit extensions for “certain group health plans” during this meshugas. These include disregarding the “Outbreak Period,” that is, The Feds “recognized that participants may find it difficult to comply with certain pre-established timeframes.”
Paging Captain Obvious.
To that end, the “date within which participants must file a claim under your tax-free FSA or HRA plan’s claims procedures has been extended to 60 days after the end of the Outbreak Period.” Note that folks still have to incur eligible expanses in order to be reimbursed, just that there’s now some flexibility in the timing of those reimbursements.
Click here for more details on that.
Next up, ‘COBRA Timeframe Extensions During COVID‘. So in addition to FSA/HRA extensions, COBRA gains some flexibility, too:
“The goal of the benefit extensions is to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits because of a failure to comply with an applicable timeframe.”
Typically, one has a 60 day “window” in which to elect COBRA once one loses eligible group coverage. Obviously, this will prove …. challenging for a lot of Americans, so the The Feds’ new guidance “requires benefit plans to disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until sixty (60) days after the announced end of the National Emergency, or such other date announced by the Agencies in a future notice (the “Outbreak Period”).”
Which is also helpful.
For more on the COBRA aspects, click here.
As always, consult with your own benefits admin folks for specific details on your situation.
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