The 21st Century Cures Act, passed and signed into law in December, includes a provision creating what is called a "Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement" (QSEHRA). A QSEHRA allows small (non-ALE) employers who do not offer group health insurance to their employees to provide money to employees on a tax-free basis. The money can be used to pay for individual health policies and to reimburse employees for certain medical expenses.
The IRS Office of Chief Counsel has issued a memorandum clarifying the tax treatment of certain types of fixed indemnity plans offered by employers. The memorandum states that the benefits provided by a fixed indemnity health plan must be treated as taxable income to an employee if the plan is employer-paid or if the employee can purchase the coverage on a pre-tax basis through a cafeteria plan.