Health Provisions in COVID-19 Stimulus Legislation
Recent COVID-19 stimulus packages allocated billions to health care providers for eligible expenses to combat the disease and included health-related provisions directly impacting individuals, such as:
Sick leave and family leave:
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), private-sector companies with fewer than 500 employees and certain public employers must pay qualifying employees up to two weeks, or 80 hours, of emergency paid sick leave. Eligibility factors include personal COVID-19-related care or quarantine (at the employee’s full pay rate) or caring for an ill family member or child whose school or day care has closed due to the virus (at two-thirds their pay rate). The Act caps sick leave payments.
Also, under FFCRA, qualifying employees caring for children whose school or day care has closed may take up to twelve weeks of family and medical leave. Up to 10 weeks must be paid at two-thirds their regular pay, up to a cap.
Employers will receive payroll tax credits for wages paid under the Act’s sick leave and family leave provisions. Businesses that have been forced to close are exempt from the requirement. Firms with fewer than 50 employees may also be exempt.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, all private health plans must cover coronavirus testing and vaccinations (when available) with no cost sharing. High-deductible health plans will not be in jeopardy of losing their status for offering cost-free telehealth services to members, regardless of whether they have met their plan’s deductible for the year. CARES increases Medicare payments for COVID-19-related hospital stays and durable medical equipment and expands coverage of phone-based health services under Medicare.
HSAs and FSAs:
CARES overturns an Affordable Care Act provision, allowing Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts to again be used for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription.
We hope you and your family are taking every precaution to stay safe and well. Although we currently aren’t able to meet with you in person, we are still available to answer your questions or discuss your concerns.