CMS 2016 Payment Notice effectively embeds individual out of pocket limit in family HDHPs

The Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), recently issued its final 2016 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (2016 Payment Notice), in which it stated that, starting in the 2016 plan year, the self-only annual limitation on cost sharing applies to each individual, regardless of whether the individual is enrolled in other than self-only coverage, including in a family high deductible Health Plan (HDHP). The significance of this is that it effectively embeds an individual out-of-pocket limit in all family group health plans with a higher family deductible.

For example, an HDHP plan that has a $10,000 family deductible may provide payment for covered medical expenses for a member of the family if that member has incurred covered medical expenses during the year of at least $2,600 (the minimum deductible for a 2015 family HDHP). Under the policy finalized in the 2016 Payment Notice, this plan must also apply the annual limitation on cost sharing for self only coverage ($6,600 in 2015) to each individual in the plan, even if this amount is below the $10,000 family deductible limit.

Author: Erwin Kratz

Erwin Kratz practices exclusively in the areas of ERISA and employee benefits law, focusing on tax and regulatory matters relating to qualified and nonqualified deferred compensation and welfare benefits.