IRS Issues Final Regulations on Comparability of HSA Contributions

On Friday July 28, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final rules governing the required comparability of employer contributions to employees’ health savings accounts. The proposed rule was published in August 2005.

The Treaury Department’s press release explains that

Comparability rules provide that an employer contributing to one employee’s HSA must contribute comparable amounts to all employees who have HSAs. The final regulations expand the flexibility of the proposed rules issued in August 2005.In particular, the final regulations include the following features:

  • An exception from the comparability requirement for groups of collectively bargained employees;
  • The ability to make different comparable contributions based on different variations of family coverage;
  • Further clarification of the exclusion from the comparability requirement for employer contributions made through a cafeteria plan.Generally, under the final rules if employees are allowed to contribute to an HSA by salary reduction through a cafeteria plan, all employer contributions to the employee’s HSA will be treated as being made through a cafeteria plan (and thus excluded from the comparability rules).

The new rules apply to employer contributions made on or after January 1, 2007.