Recent COVID-19 Announcements and What They Mean for Further Account Holders
Download Further's COVID-19 white paper and infographic.
Passed in March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was the first piece of federal legislation addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This act included important provisions for health spending accounts, including expanding the list of eligible expenses that qualify for reimbursement to include over-the-counter medications.
Since then, Congress, the IRS and the DOL have made several regulatory changes and announcements to address the continued impact of the COVID-19 virus, including:
• The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021, passed December 2020, and clarified in 2021 with IRS Notice 2021-15: A $2.3 trillion bill that combined $900 billion in relief for the COVID-19 pandemic and a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the 2021 federal fiscal year.
• The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, passed March 2021: A $1.9 trillion bill to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
• DOL Notice 2020-29, originally passed in 2020, and updated March 23, 2021, with DOL Notice 2021-01: These notices defined and clarified an “outbreak period” and its requirements for companies that provide health finance accounts.
• IRS Announcement 2021-07, passed March 2021: Authorized personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, if purchased for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, as qualified medical expenses.
• IRS Notice 2021-26, passed May 2021: Provided clarity regarding the taxation of DCAP benefits available in 2021 and 2022, due to either carryover of unused benefits or the extended claims period.
To help everyone stay informed about what the recent, post-CARES Act regulatory changes mean for members, Further has published a white paper and infographic. These tools can easily be shared with employees to help them understand all the changes.
The white paper summarizes significant updates for spending accounts since the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021.
The infographic gives a visual overview of the changes resulting from each piece of legislation.
Both resources are available to download here.
*This is not a comprehensive list of all bills and announcements that have been released since Dec. 27, 2020, but rather a summary of what we feel are the most impactful bills and announcements based on the accounts we support.
Revisiting the CARES Act changes
At the start of the pandemic, we recognized that many of our members and employers would wonder how their spending accounts would be impacted by the regulatory changes. For a reminder of all the changes that came with the CARES Act, Further prepared an FAQ page on our Learning Center for our members and groups.
To view this, click here.