Health Benefit Solutions

Q1 Newsletter 2020

An update on coronavirus

COVID-19 is obviously front and center in the minds of people and companies across the world — and it has been for us also.  As your trusted partner, we feel it's important to share information with you surrounding this topic.

The IRS just issued Notice 2020-15 allowing HDHPs to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment pre-deductible.

Notice 2020-15 provides tax relief to health plans as a result of the public health emergency posed by COVID-19, and the need to eliminate potential administrative and financial barriers to testing for and treatment of COVID-19. A health plan that otherwise satisfies the requirements to be a high deductible health plan (HDHP) under section 223(c)(2)(A) will not fail to be an HDHP merely because the health plan provides medical care services and items purchased related to testing for and treatment of COVID-19 prior to the satisfaction of the applicable minimum deductible. As a result, the individuals covered by such a plan will not fail to be eligible individuals under section 223(c)(1) merely because of the provision of those health benefits for testing and treatment of COVID-19.

Notice 2020-15 will be in IRB: IRB 2020-14, dated March 30, 2020.

We hope that you find this information helpful, and we'll continue to pass along important information surrounding this topic as we become informed.

Industry question

Out-of-pocket healthcare spending totaled $371 billion in 2018! What percent of these dollars were funneled through a pre-tax account?

Answer: Only 22% ($85.3 billion) of the $371 billion were contributed through a pre-tax account. If consumers used pre-tax dollars instead of post-tax dollars to pay for their eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses, they would save 30% on average each year.

Source: 2018 Alegeus Consumer Health & Financial Fluency Report

2019 tax reminder

Funding a health savings account (HSA) each year is a no-brainer. Even if the HSA owner plans to spend every penny on medical expenses immediately after funding the account, they still receive the tax benefit. Taking the step to contribute to an HSA first and then paying the expense means the participant will not pay income taxes on those dollars.

  • If you have a participant who wants to make a 2019 contribution to their HSA, don’t worry! There’s still time. Contributions into an HSA for the 2019 tax year can be made until April 15, 2020. To ensure contributions are coded to the correct tax year, have the participant notify Health Benefit Solutions.
  • Health Benefit Solutions sends the 5498-SA tax form to participants in May. This tax form reports total contributions into an HSA for the year, including any contributions made prior to April 15, 2020, for the 2019 tax year. If documentation is needed earlier, participants can pull their 2019 contributions online or contact us for assistance. This form is provided to the participant as well as the IRS.

HSA & FSA store

Did you know Health Benefit Solutions partners with the HSA and FSA store? This simplified way to shop helps consumers with a one-stop online option for HSA/FSA-eligible products and services, which means that in most cases, a product or service will be covered by your HSA or FSA. and work with the latest in industry technology to ensure that every product they carry is HSA/FSA-eligible, sometimes with a prescription. Products are clearly marked and can easily be accessed within the eligibility list.

The HSA and FSA store has more than 4,000 eligible products, from baby care to reading glasses to walking aids. As an online resource, payment can be made directly from your benefit debit card or any major credit card. Participants can reimburse themselves for dollars spent on these products if a major credit card was used. Note: Although card purchases should auto-approve without you needing to submit further paperwork, your FSA administrator may require a receipt for your purchase to substantiate the claim.

With technology on your side, the HSA/FSA stores make it easier than ever to maximize your tax-advantaged accounts for current and future healthcare needs. Check them out today!

The ease of a stacked debit card

Union Bank & Trust Health Benefit Solutions offers a stacked or multi-purpose card, making it even easier for participants to access dollars. So what does that mean, exactly? For starters, as part of the streamlined employee experience, a stacked card allows: 

  • One card to access all accounts for eligible expenses. A participant can have an HSA and LPFSA and only need one debit card with one online login. 
  • Real-time ability to control merchant category codes and view authorizations and denials. 
  • Compliance with the Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS). 
  • Single system and real-time processing, which ensures all consumer touchpoints have the most up-to-date balance.

A stacked card relies on merchant category codes (MCC) to determine which benefit account to pull funds from. MCCs are also used for approving card transactions and are specific to each card vendor and their area of business (e.g., doctor’s office, daycare, pharmacy). Because these funds are meant only to be used for qualified medical expenses, MCCs are restricted to only qualified entities. For example, your Health Benefit Solutions card cannot be used at the ATM, movie theater, or gas station. 

Our cards have real-time processing for security and balance purposes. If a card transaction is denied, the client is notified at the card terminal and via email. If an account owner’s card would be stolen, the MCC restriction would limit where the card could be used, and once the card is swiped and denied, the account owner would be notified via email. 

The bottom line? With our industry-leading technology, you’re in good hands.

Looking back at 2019 and ahead at 2020

This year is going to be a big one for Health Benefit Solutions! We’ll have some exciting announcements to share soon. But in the meantime, let’s take a look at some tidbits from our 2019 plan year:

  • Engaged more than 20,000 employees
  • Supported more than 350 employer groups
  • Processed more than $61 million in healthcare transactions
  • Team of 13 dedicated individuals

Real people, real answers, in real time: Meet Dave Vrbas

Dave Vrbas is Operations Coordinator for Health Benefit Solutions. We asked him a few questions about who he is and what makes him tick.

What are three main responsibilities in your job?

Customer service, HSA compliance, and a wide variety of HSA administrative duties.

Who inspires you?

Robin Roberts has a grace and poise that’s awe-inspiring. Second place: Ellen!

What’s the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Jason Mraz at the Pinewood Bowl.

If you could be any animal, which would you be?

I make dog treats for farmers’ markets, so I have to say a dog. Then I could enjoy my own wares!

What was your first job?


What fad or trend do you think should never come back?

Parachute pants.

What are you absolutely determined to do?

Raise my three kids to be happy, healthy, and kind.

What irrational fear do you have?
I’m crazy claustrophobic.

What cheesy song do you have memorized?

“We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel. “Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio…”

Investment products: Not FDIC Insured — No Bank Guarantee — May Lose Value.


Learning Center articles, guides, blogs, podcasts, and videos are for informational purposes only and are not an advertisement for a product or service. The accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Please consult with your own tax, legal, and financial advisors.