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WASHINGTON – The IRS and Treasury have issued proposed regulations designed to clarify and expand on guidance regarding comparability rules for employer Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions. HSAs are tax-free savings accounts that can be used to pay for medical expenses including prescription and over-the-counter drugs incurred by individuals, spouses or dependents. Unused HSA money rolls over from year to year and can then be used to pay for medical care up to the plan’s deductible. In general the proposed regulations would affect employers that contribute to employees’ HSAs. Unlike many other employer-provided tax-favored benefits, the HSA rules do not have nondiscrimination rules restricting the amount of benefits provided to highly compensated employees. Instead, the HSA statute requires that all employer pre-tax contributions to employee HSAs be the same amount or the same percentage of the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) deductible for all employees with the same category (self-only or family) of HDHP coverage. The proposed regulations also clarify that the comparability rules do not apply to amounts rolled over from an employee’s HSA or Archer MSA or to after-tax employee contributions. In addition, it provides an exception from the comparability rules for employer contributions to cafeteria plans.

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