Good news, QSEHRA fans! Beginning January 1, 2020, offering a QSEHRA will trigger a special enrollment period, overcoming one of the biggest challenges for the tax-advantaged solution. Instead of waiting until open enrollment, employees (and their dependents) who are offered QSEHRAs will have 60 days to sign up for a plan of their choice.
Thanks to recent regulatory updates, QSEHRAs and another new type of HRA called an ICHRA, will trigger special enrollment periods. This delivers more flexibility and accessibility into the world of HRAs for employers looking to adopt a plan mid year.
What is a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)?
To participate in QSEHRA, employees will need to purchase a qualified health insurance plan from the Health Exchange that meets Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC). For employees that haven't had to purchase insurance on their own before, this can be confusing.
Typically, there is one time during the year, called Open Enrollment, when plans are available on the individual marketplace for individuals to enroll in. Open Enrollment is typically Nov 1- Dec 15th each year although some states extend the deadline. After Open Enrollment has ended, individuals need a qualifying life event called a Special Enrollment Period to purchase a plan, These come in the form of big life events like marriage, divorce, having a baby, and moving. QSEHRA will trigger a special enrollment period for users, thanks to specifications laid out in final regulations.
QSEHRA and special enrollment periods
We've seen employers who have been excited to offer the QSEHRA benefit to employees mid-year but have had few employees participate because they didn't have health insurance coverage and also didn't qualify for a special enrollment period to purchase a new plan.
Frustrated employees would have a really, really hard time finding adequate coverage that meets the MEC requirement outside of open enrollment. This new Special Enrollment Period provision for QSEHRA will give employees more options for their families.
Now employers can offer a QSEHRA at any time in the year, and employees can purchase qualifying plans without any headaches.
Employees have 60 days to choose a plan
Employees with newly gained access to QSEHRA will have 60 days to enroll in their health plan of choice. This leaves plenty of time for employees to shop around and truly find the right plan for their individual health needs, especially with Take Command's data-driven individual health insurance shopping platform, which can help them search for affordable plans based on their needs, their prescriptions, and their doctors. Cool, huh?
Need More information about QSEHRA?
Chat with our team with any questions you may have about these new, tax-friendly benefits or check out our QSEHRA Guide for more information on its background, setup process, requirements, and rules.
I wrote this blog because I care about ideas (big and little) that can help fix our healthcare system. I used to work on projects for Kaiser Permanente and the Parkland Health & Hospital System so I've seen the system inside and out. It's so important that consumers keep up with industry shifts and changing health insurance regulations. I'm also Take Command Health's Content Editor and a busy mom. Learn more about me and connect with me on our about us page. Thanks!