§ 54.9831-1Special rules relating to group health plans.
(a)Group health plan—
(1)Defined. A group health plan means a plan (including a self-insured plan) of, or contributed to by, an employer (including a self-employed person) or employee organization to provide health care (directly or otherwise) to the employees, former employees, the employer, others associated or formerly associated with the employer in a business relationship, or their families.
(2)Determination of number of plans. [Reserved]
(b)General exception for certain small group health plans.
(1) Subject to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the requirements of §§ 54.9801-1 through 54.9801-6, 54.9802-1, 54.9802-2, 54.9811-1, 54.9812-1T, and 54.9833-1 do not apply to any group health plan for any plan year if, on the first day of the plan year, the plan has fewer than two participants who are current employees.
(2) The exception of paragraph (b)(1) of this section does not apply with respect to the following requirements:
(1)In general. The requirements of §§ 54.9801-1 through 54.9801-6, 54.9802-1, 54.9802-2, 54.9811-1T, 54.9812-1T, and 54.9833-1 do not apply to any group health plan in relation to its provision of the benefits described in paragraph (c)(2), (3), (4), or (5) of this section (or any combination of these benefits).
(2)Benefits excepted in all circumstances. The following benefits are excepted in all circumstances—
(i) Coverage only for accident (including accidental death and dismemberment);
(ii) Disability income coverage;
(iii) Liability insurance, including general liability insurance and automobile liability insurance;
(iv) Coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance;
(v) Workers' compensation or similar coverage;
(vi) Automobile medical payment insurance;
(vii) Credit-only insurance (for example, mortgage insurance); and
(viii) Coverage for on-site medical clinics.
(3)Limited excepted benefits—
(i)In general. Limited-scope dental benefits, limited-scope vision benefits, or long-term care benefits are excepted if they are provided under a separate policy, certificate, or contract of insurance, or are otherwise not an integral part of a group health plan as described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section. In addition, benefits provided under a health flexible spending arrangement are excepted benefits if they satisfy the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(v) of this section.
(ii)Not an integral part of a group health plan. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(3), benefits are not an integral part of a group health plan (whether the benefits are provided through the same plan or a separate plan) only if the following two requirements are satisfied—
(A) Participants must have the right to elect not to receive coverage for the benefits; and
(B) If a participant elects to receive coverage for the benefits, the participant must pay an additional premium or contribution for that coverage.
(A)Dental benefits. Limited scope dental benefits are benefits substantially all of which are for treatment of the mouth (including any organ or structure within the mouth).
(B)Vision benefits. Limited scope vision benefits are benefits substantially all of which are for treatment of the eye.
(iv)Long-term care. Long-term care benefits are benefits that are either—
(A) Subject to State long-term care insurance laws;
(B) For qualified long-term care services, as defined in section 7702B(c)(1), or provided under a qualified long-term care insurance contract, as defined in section 7702B(b); or
(C) Based on cognitive impairment or a loss of functional capacity that is expected to be chronic.
(v)Health flexible spending arrangements. Benefits provided under a health flexible spending arrangement (as defined in section 106(c)(2)) are excepted for a class of participants only if they satisfy the following two requirements—
(A) Other group health plan coverage, not limited to excepted benefits, is made available for the year to the class of participants by reason of their employment; and
(B) The arrangement is structured so that the maximum benefit payable to any participant in the class for a year cannot exceed two times the participant's salary reduction election under the arrangement for the year (or, if greater, cannot exceed $500 plus the amount of the participant's salary reduction election). For this purpose, any amount that an employee can elect to receive as taxable income but elects to apply to the health flexible spending arrangement is considered a salary reduction election (regardless of whether the amount is characterized as salary or as a credit under the arrangement).
(i)Excepted benefits that are not coordinated. Coverage for only a specified disease or illness (for example, cancer-only policies) or hospital indemnity or other fixed indemnity insurance is excepted only if it meets each of the conditions specified in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section. To be hospital indemnity or other fixed indemnity insurance, the insurance must pay a fixed dollar amount per day (or per other period) of hospitalization or illness (for example, $100/day) regardless of the amount of expenses incurred.
(ii)Conditions. Benefits are described in paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section only if—
(A) The benefits are provided under a separate policy, certificate, or contract of insurance;
(B) There is no coordination between the provision of the benefits and an exclusion of benefits under any group health plan maintained by the same plan sponsor; and
(C) The benefits are paid with respect to an event without regard to whether benefits are provided with respect to the event under any group health plan maintained by the same plan sponsor.
(iii)Example. The rules of this paragraph (c)(4) are illustrated by the following example:
(i) Facts. An employer sponsors a group health plan that provides coverage through an insurance policy. The policy provides benefits only for hospital stays at a fixed percentage of hospital expenses up to a maximum of $100 a day.
(ii) Conclusion. In this Example, even though the benefits under the policy satisfy the conditions in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section, because the policy pays a percentage of expenses incurred rather than a fixed dollar amount, the benefits under the policy are not excepted benefits under this paragraph (c)(4). This is the result even if, in practice, the policy pays the maximum of $100 for every day of hospitalization.
(i) The following benefits are excepted only if they are provided under a separate policy, certificate, or contract of insurance—
(A) Medicare supplemental health insurance (as defined under section 1882(g)(1) of the Social Security Act; also known as Medigap or MedSupp insurance);
(B) Coverage supplemental to the coverage provided under Chapter 55, title 10 of the United States Code (also known as TRICARE supplemental programs); and
(C) Similar supplemental coverage provided to coverage under a group health plan. To be similar supplemental coverage, the coverage must be specifically designed to fill gaps in primary coverage, such as coinsurance or deductibles. Similar supplemental coverage does not include coverage that becomes secondary or supplemental only under a coordination-of-benefits provision.
(ii) The rules of this paragraph (c)(5) are illustrated by the following example:
(i) Facts. An employer sponsors a group health plan that provides coverage for both active employees and retirees. The coverage for retirees supplements benefits provided by Medicare, but does not meet the requirements for a supplemental policy under section 1882(g)(1) of the Social Security Act.
(ii) Conclusion. In this Example, the coverage provided to retirees does not meet the definition of supplemental excepted benefits under this paragraph (c)(5) because the coverage is not Medicare supplemental insurance as defined under section 1882(g)(1) of the Social Security Act, is not a TRICARE supplemental program, and is not supplemental to coverage provided under a group health plan.
(d)Treatment of partnerships. For purposes of this part:
(1)Treatment as a group health plan. (See29 CFR 2590.732(d)(1) and 45 CFR 146.145(d)(1), under which a plan providing medical care, maintained by a partnership, and usually not treated as an employee welfare benefit plan under ERISA is treated as a group health plan for purposes of Part 7 of Subtitle B of title I of ERISA and title XXVII of the PHS Act.)
(2)Employment relationship. In the case of a group health plan, the term employer also includes the partnership in relation to any bona fide partner. In addition, the term employee also includes any bona fide partner. Whether or not an individual is a bona fide partner is determined based on all the relevant facts and circumstances, including whether the individual performs services on behalf of the partnership.
(3)Participants of group health plans. In the case of a group health plan, the term participant also includes any individual described in paragraph (d)(3)(i) or (ii) of this section if the individual is, or may become, eligible to receive a benefit under the plan or the individual's beneficiaries may be eligible to receive any such benefit.
(i) In connection with a group health plan maintained by a partnership, the individual is a partner in relation to the partnership.
(ii) In connection with a group health plan maintained by a self-employed individual (under which one or more employees are participants), the individual is the self-employed individual.
(e)Determining the average number of employees. [Reserved]