Health savings account plan sponsors may be able to accelerate payments to help employees who face big medical bills early in the year.

The Internal Revenue Service today published a proposed rule that would establish guidelines for accelerating employer HSA contributions.

Under the proposed rule, an employer could accelerate part or all of its contributions.

If an employer accelerates contributions, “these contributions must be available on an equal and uniform basis to all eligible employees throughout the calendar year, and employers must establish reasonable uniform methods and requirements for acceleration of contributions and the determination of medical expenses,” officials write in a preamble to the proposed rule, which appears today in the Federal Register.

Another section of the proposed regulation would establish a procedure for employers to comply with contribution comparability requirements for employees in HSA-compatible plans who have not established actual health savings accounts, or told employers about HSAs, by Dec. 31.

An employer would have to notify the employee of the availability of HSA contributions by Jan 15 of the following calendar year, and employees would have until the last February to establish HSA and tell the employer about the HSAs.

A copy of the proposed rule is on the Web HYPERLINK “http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-10529.pdf”here.