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Feds protect HSA plans against PPACA fears

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The Internal Revenue Service is trying to keep worries about preventive services benefits rules under PPACA from rattling the health savings account program.

The IRS protected HSA-compatible plans with a notice, IRS Notice 2013-57, that irons out conflicts between the HSA program preventive services rules and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act preventive services package rules.

Section 223 of the Internal Revenue Code requires an HSA holder to use the HSA together with high-deductible health coverage.

PPACA requires employer plans and individual health insurance policies to cover a package of preventive services — including checkups, vaccinations and birth control services — without making the patient pay a co-payment or deductible.

In 2004, the IRS used two notices to let HSA-compatible plans cover some preventive services on a no-deductible or low-deductible basis.

Since PPACA was enacted, the IRS and other federal agencies have created new PPACA preventive services package regulations.

In the new notice, the IRS says HSA plan sponsors and individual policy issuers can continue to classify anything treated as a preventive service in the 2004 notices as a preventive service, no matter how the new PPACA regulations treat the service.

Similarly, an HSA plan sponsor or policy issuer can treat any service included in the new PPACA preventive services package as an HSA-compatible preventive service, whether it was in the 2004 HSA notices or not, officials said. 

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