Employee Benefits Compliance Updates (Benefit Minute)
HSA Limits for 2021
The limits for qualified high deductible health plans (QHDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) for plan years beginning in 2021 are set forth below.
- HSA Contribution Limit (individual) – $3,600
- HSA Contribution Limit (family) – $7,200
- QHDHP Minimum Deductible (individual) – $1,400
- QHDHP Minimum Deductible (family) – $2,800
- QHDHP Out-of-Pocket Maximum (individual) – $7,000
- QHDHP Out-of-Pocket Maximum (family) must include an embedded individual amount not to exceed $8,550 – $14,000
For health plans that are not QHDHPs, the out-of-pocket maximums for plan years beginning in 2021 are $8,550 (individual) and $17,100 (family – must include an embedded individual out-of-pocket maximum not to exceed $8,550).
Supreme Court Rules on Sex Discrimination in the Workplace
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that employers violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when they terminate employees for being homosexual or transgender. Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In the three cases, the employers at issue terminated their employees because they were homosexual or transgender.
The Court determined that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is implicitly and inescapably on account of an individual’s sex which is unlawful under Title VII. The decision is effective immediately.
This Supreme Court decision is narrow and relates specifically to employment termination due to sexual orientation or transgender status. It does not address whether compliance with Title VII would infringe on an employer’s religious liberties under the First Amendment.
Even though this decision addressed employment termination, employers who sponsor benefit plans should take note of this and proceed with caution if health and welfare plans discriminate in eligibility or benefits as Title VII relates to all terms and conditions of employment. Potentially discriminatory provisions include limiting eligibility to opposite sex spouses, providing sex-specific care based only on an individual’s sex assigned at birth or recorded gender, excluding coverage for medically necessary services related to diagnosis/treatment of gender dysphoria, or failing to provide disability benefits for a disability due to gender dysphoria or medically necessary gender affirmation services.
This Supreme Court decision came just days after the Trump administration rolled back protections for transgender individuals under section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in any health program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. The prior administration had interpreted this provision broadly to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
While the Supreme Court’s Title VII decision is far more impactful than the change in the Section 1557 guidance, both will likely result in additional lawsuits that will further shape employment protections and health insurance coverage for homosexual and transgender individuals.