We’ll continue to monitor developments on COVID-19 and update this page often.
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COVID-19 Resources for Employers
How can you fight COVID-19 right now?
There is a lot of information about what to do and what not to do to fight coronavirus. Start off by understanding the four best ways to help employees during this time of transition and uncertainty.
How is BRI managing COVID-19?
We have taken the necessary steps to safeguard the health and safety of our employees while ensuring clients and participants have continuous support and regular access to accounts and benefits through Benefit Resource (BRI). See more about BRI’s commitment to service.
Top five FAQs from employers
- Can employees make changes to elections? There are a variety of factors and rules which determine if an election change can be made. In general, election changes can be made for Commuter Benefit Plans, Dependent Care FSAs, Medical FSAs, and HSAs. Download this resource for additional information on Managing Election Changes for Dependent Care FSAs and Commuter Benefit Plans.
- How do I manage benefits with employee leave and/or terminations? The reality of this situation is not easy and is causing many employers to consider unpaid leave and even terminations. Learn the ins-and-outs of Managing Leave and Terminations. You can also review our blog Do I need to offer COBRA to my furloughed employees?
- Can I change my current plan to provide more flexibility for employees? Employers are generally able to adjust their plan parameters in the middle of a plan year. Many employers are changing their eligibility rules to ensure employees remain eligible for benefits. Additionally, employers are modifying their run-out period or adding up to a 12-month grace period for Health and Dependent Care FSAs to allow employees more time to submit claims/expenses. See our blog for more information.
- Can I change how I am managing my plan? You may find that your normal processes for managing plan changes or funding accounts are not ideal during the pandemic. Please reach out to your Client Specialist to discuss alternative options for managing your plans.
- With most non-emergency procedures being postponed, is there any relief expected for FSA funds rolling over or extending the time period funds can be used? On May 12th, the IRS issued relief in two new notices. Notice 2020-29 extended the claim submission deadline and other items. Notice 2020-33 made changes to the FSA rollover provision. Read the full details here. Additionally, on December 21st, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 included H.R. 133 of Authorizing Matters which enables plans to permit Health and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) to: (1) permit carryover unused benefits up to the full annual amount from 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022 or (2) add a 12-month grace period for unused benefits or contributions in Health and Dependent Care FSAs for plan years ending in 2020 or 2021. This measure also permits changes in election amounts for Health and Dependent Care FSAs for plan years ending in 2021 and allows Health FSAs to pay expenses for termed employees. Read the full details here.
Coronavirus news from BRI
We are actively monitoring developments to provide the latest content and COVID-19 resources to you through emails, blogs and social posts. To stay in the loop, follow us on social and sign up for our newsletter and latest blogs.
COVID-19 Resources for Employees
How can you fight COVID-19 right now?
There is a lot of information about what to do and what not to do to fight coronavirus. Start by making sure you’re following the CDC’s advice about best practices.
Election changes to accounts
See our blog about recent election changes to the following accounts from Benefit Resource:
- Health Savings Account
- FSA Dependent Care Account
- Commuter Benefit Plan (mass transit and/or parking)
To learn about the election changes allowed for Medical FSAs, see our blog about the relief passed in the year-end spending bill.
OTC drugs and medicines are eligible
The CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020 allows OTC Drugs and Medicines to be purchased from health accounts without a prescription.
WHAT TO KNOW
- OTC Drugs and Medicines purchased on 1/1/2020 or later are eligible for reimbursement from FSAs and HSAs. Reimbursement permitted for HRAs that currently allow OTC as eligible expenses. View Sample List of Eligible OTC Items
- Initially, you will need to submit a claim to be reimbursed for these expenses. Claims can be submitted online or through the BRiMobile app. See out Submitting Claims Walk Through for instructions on doing so.
- Within 1-3 months, merchants will begin to update their systems to identify these additional OTC items. Once that has occurred, you will be able to use your Beniversal® Prepaid Mastercard® for purchases directly.
Top five FAQs from employees
- Why can’t you just write me a check for the funds in my account? FSAs, HRAs, CBPs and HSAs are all governed by the IRS. This means there are specific rules on how the account funds are managed. In order to ensure all employees continue to enjoy the tax-favored treatment of these accounts, we need to continue to comply with current rules. If the IRS offers relief, we will amend standards accordingly.
- Can I submit OTC expenses I incurred from earlier this year? If you are enrolled in a plan which permits OTC expenses and you purchased OTC Drugs and Medicines on or after 1/1/20, you may submit these expenses for reimbursement.
- What do I do if I am unable to provide a receipt for a prior transaction? We understand it may be difficult to obtain the required receipts you need right now. If you are unable to provide a receipt due to provider availability, please reach out to participant services to request a temporary delay in card suspension.
- What is the best way to access my account information? You can access your account through BRiWeb or through the BRiMobile app. Click here for a step-by-step walk through to check your balance.
- How do I access my account funds? The fastest way to access your account funds is to use your Beniversal Prepaid Mastercard. If you are unable to use the card or are looking to be reimbursed for expenses already incurred, you can submit a claim online through BRiWeb or through the BRiMobile app.
Coronavirus news from BRI
We are actively monitoring news about coronavirus and providing the latest content and COVID-19 resources to you through emails, blogs and social posts. To stay in the loop, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for our newsletter for the latest blogs.
Visit our blog for articles and updates on COVID-19
Articles for employers:
- Relief for FSAs in Year-end Spending Bill
- IRS and DOL notice extends COBRA and health plan deadlines
- IRS releases new relief affecting FSAs
- Do I need to offer COBRA to my furloughed employees?
- Four ways employers can assist employees amid COVID-19
Articles for employees: