BASE® Statement Regarding Coronavirus: BASE® Committed to Service Amidst Coronavirus Social Distancing ‑ UPDATED 3.19.2020

Coronavirus & FSA: Pays to Be Prepared

As we are all aware of the public health crisis that has surged around the globe and has made its way into the United States, a new virus called the coronavirus is placing its grip on Americans.  This crisis has everyone taking a closer look at their current state of health, and what products they have readily available at home to keep them prepared for this pandemic.

Many people are stocking up on supplies such as food, toilet paper, and health care products to ward off any potential case of getting sick.  Did you know that many health care products are FSA-eligible and can be paid for with pre-tax dollars?  BASE® wants to share the tools and know-how needed to take full advantage of tax-free health care benefits.

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows employers to provide their employees with more options to pay for their out-of-pocket medical spending that are not covered under any insurance plan.  Qualifying out-of-pocket expenses could include anything from copays to prescription drugs and over-the-counter medical supplies.  Many of which can help keep individuals prepared during this public health crisis.

Preparing for viruses is always important.  What are some of the coronavirus preparedness products?  Many of the same products that can help ward off and treat the seasonal flu viruses may be eligible.  In order to be eligible, these preparedness products require a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN).

Eligible products such as:

  • Thermometers
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Vaporizers
  • Nasal decongestants
  • Dual hot and cold packs
  • First aid kits
  • Saline wipes

Not sure if a product is an eligible expense under Code Section 213(d) with an FSA?  Check out HealthShopper!  This website has a complete list of all eligible products that can be purchased with pre-taxed FSA dollars.  With this site, there is no guessing, no uncertainty if expenses are eligible.

It is a responsible choice to be prepared and the pre-tax FSA dollars can help achieve it.   Always consult a doctor if there are any medical questions. 

Does a Business Need to Sponsor Health Insurance to Benefit from an HRA?

When it comes to Health Reimbursement Arrangements, not all employers are required to sponsor a group health plan in order to provide their employees with a custom health benefits package and save the business valuable tax dollars.  

A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) is a tool for business owners to increase their tax savings and to offer tax-free health benefits.  An HRA may reimburse for qualified medical expenses such as co-pays, deductibles, and qualified health insurance premiums.

Do employers need to sponsor a group health plan in order to provide an HRA?  IT DEPENDS ON THE HRA.  One HRA requires the employer to sponsor a group health plan, while another HRA requires the employees to show proof of Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) through either their spouse or the Marketplace in order to participate. 

If a business has one or more employees and sponsors a group underwritten health plan, the Integrated HRA can help reduce a business’ overall costs of insurance coverage by 10-50%.  This means savings for the employers and more options to pay for medical expenses not covered by health insurance for their employees.

The BASE® Integrated HRA is designed to reduce the overall group health insurance cost for the business and it’s employees.  Coupled with the group health plan, the HRA can help to suppress the yearly increases most commonly associated with health care.

If a business wants to reimburse either individual health premiums, non-insured medical expenses, or both, and have employees who meet MEC, not offered through the employer, the Section 105, Individual Coverage, QSE, or Excepted Benefit HRA, can help the business save money by not having to provide a traditional group health plan making all reimbursements a deductible business expense, and still help employees pay for their medical expenses tax-free.

The BASE® Section 105 HRA is designed to assist with health care expenses, and provide an average of $5,000 in tax savings per year.  Small business owners can deduct up to 100% of health care costs as a business deduction.  In order to participate, small business owners must be classified as either a Sole Proprietor, in a Partnership, a C Corporation, or S Corporation.

The BASE® Individual Coverage HRA is designed to streamline benefit options and cut costs without reducing value. New in 2020, this new plan will integrate with the employees’ individual health insurance to provide business owners with a great alternative when it comes to providing health benefits.

The BASE® QSE HRA is designed to help employers offer a more attractive benefits package.  Employers are able to provide a tax-preferred benefit that employees can use to pay for qualified health care expenses, such as their health insurance premiums purchased on or off the Marketplace.

The BASE® Excepted Benefit HRA is designed to provide employees with an additional $1,800 to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses and non-insured medical expenses.  The business can provide a group health plan with this HRA, but the employee does not have to participate in the employer-sponsored health plan in order to participate.  This new plan for 2020 provides a way to maximize tax benefits for a business and their employees.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements have been proven to reduce the financial impact of health care expenses for both the employer and employees.  Please call 888-386-9680 or visit the website for more information.