Compliance FYI: IRS Notice 2019-45 – Additional Preventive Items Under an HDHP

Compliance, Employee Benefits

On July 17, 2019 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2019-45 regarding certain preventive care benefits that are permitted under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) including Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible plans. These benefits can be provided without applying a deductible or with a deductible below the applicable minimums.

Under Section 223 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), HDHPs may not provide benefits for any year until the applicable deductible is satisfied. However there is a safe harbor for benefits consisting of preventive care. As a result, HDHPs can provide preventive benefits without applying the deductible or can apply a deductible that is lower than the required minimum deductible. In order for benefits to be considered “preventive” they must be either defined as preventive under section 1861 of the Social Security Act (SSA) or determined preventive in guidance issued by the Department of Treasury or IRS.

The guidance addresses services and items used to treat chronic conditions. These items and services may be classified as “preventive” for someone with the particular chronic condition when prescribed for the purpose of preventing the exacerbation of the chronic condition or the development of a secondary condition. If prescribed as required, these items may be covered as “preventive” under the terms of the plan and paid immediately without applying the plan deductible.

The following list will be updated every five to ten years. It is important to note that guidance does not require that these items and services be covered. Rather, the items and services are permitted to be covered as “preventive”. The effective date for this notice is July 17, 2019.

Preventive Care for Specialized ConditionsFor Individuals Diagnosed With
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitorsCongestive heart failure, diabetes, and/or coronary heart disease
Anti-resorptive therapyOsteoporosis and/or osteopenia
Beta-blockersCongestive heart failure and/or coronary heart disease
Blood pressure monitorHypertension
Inhaled corticosteroidsAsthma
Insulin and other glucose lowering agentsDiabetes
Retinopathy screeningDiabetes
Peak flow meterAsthma
Hemoglobin A1c testingDiabetes
International Normalized Ratio (INR) testingLive disease and/or bleeding disorders
Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) testingHeart disease
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)Depression
StatinsHeart disease and/or diabetes


The new guidance issued by the IRS allows High Deductible Health Plans to cover certain items and services for chronic conditions as “preventive care” without applying the deductible.

Employers should consult with their M3 Account Team and carrier/TPA partners to evaluate the new coverage options.

Back to Insight Center