The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued new guidance, Notice 2023-37, which states that for plan years ending after December 31, 2024, HSA-compatible high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) will no longer be permitted to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment before the minimum deductible is satisfied. This guidance answers the question of how long these exceptions to the usual HDHP rules would remain in effect now that the emergency declarations for COVID-19 have ended.
The Notice also clarifies that despite the imposition of this new deadline, if the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) issues guidance recommending COVID-19 testing and treatment at an “A” or “B” rating, then HDHPs will be required to treat COVID-19 testing and treatment as preventative care under the preventative care safe harbor, and therefore cover the costs without the application of any deductible or cost-sharing. It should be noted that the authority of the USPSTF to make recommendations that affect the definition of preventive care under the Affordable Care Act remains the subject of litigation. As a result, HDHPs may continue to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment prior to the satisfaction of any deductible through December 31, 2024, and potentially longer.