Pre and Post Tax Health Insurance Reimbursements

Recently the IRS released guidance on the practice of employers giving employees health insurance reimbursements for premiums. It is not surprising that the IRS ruled that pre-tax programs are no longer allowed.

What was surprising is that employers cannot reimburse employees for health insurance premiums with post-tax dollars. Post tax dollars means exactly that, the IRS has already gotten its share of taxes.   

Why would the IRS care where money is spent after it has been taxed?

If you provide any money to an employee that is earmarked for health insurance you may be asking, can employer designate any of it for health insurance? The answer is buried deep within the bulletin.

You can provide a health insurance bonus with the intention that it is spent on insurance. But in reality the employee can buy a first aid kit (almost health insurance) or something really unhealthy like a meal of boneless buffalo wings, drinks and carton of cigarettes. The point appears to be that you can give money to an employee but you cannot require them to spend money on health insurance.


Arin J. Carmack