The IRS continues to provide COVID-19 relief and clarifications of prior-issued relief as they apply to cafeteria plans. As a reminder, an employer may implement any/all of the relief provisions applicable to their cafeteria plan but is not required to. Most recently, the IRS issued Notice 2021-15. This notice accomplishes the following:
  • Permits mid-year election changes to health coverage for plan years ending in 2021. An employer who is interested in providing this election flexibility must get written approval from its health insurer (or stop loss carrier, if self-insured) prior to implementation. Also, be sure to communicate the update to employees and plan participants and amend the cafeteria plan accordingly.
  • Clarifies provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 regarding Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) flexibility for 2020 and 2021 plan years and more. An employer who chooses to implement these changes should continue to work closely with its flex administrator and communicate the changes to its employees and plan participants.
  • Provides relief with respect to the effective date of amendments to cafeteria plans and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to implement the expansion of allowed expenses for health FSAs and HRAs by the CARES Act to include over-the-counter drugs without prescriptions and menstrual care products.
​​​See bulletin below for details. 

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