2021 PCORI Fees

PCORI Fee Overview and Guidance

The Affordable Care Act imposes fees on issuers of specified health insurance policies and plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans to help fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The fees, required to be reported annually on the 2nd quarter Form 720 and paid by its due date, July 31st, are based on the average number of lives covered under the policy or plan. The fees apply to policy or plan years ending on or after October 1, 2012, and before October 1, 2029. HRCTS will make available an Average Covered Lives Report to all clients that are responsible to file and pay the PCORI fee each year. This report will be sent to you automatically this year and you do not need to request it.

The IRS recently released the revised Form 720 that insurers and sponsors of self-insured plans will use to pay the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee. The fee is due by July 31 of the year following the calendar year in which the plan/policy year ended. Sponsors of any plans that ended in 2020 must pay the 2020 fee by July 31, 2021.  Plan sponsors can now complete their planning for payment of this fee. The IRS has also confirmed health insurers and self-insured health plan sponsors can deduct PCORI fees as ordinary and necessary business expenses. The fee is based on the number of covered lives including employees, retirees and COBRA participants along with their covered dependent spouses and children are all counted. However, only the employee, retiree or COBRA participant needs to be counted for an HRA or a health flexible spending account (health FSA) -- dependents covered by these accounts can be excluded.

The types of plans that must pay the PCORI Fees by July 31, 2021 include:

  • Health/accident plans
  • Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) plans that are not an excepted benefit (Employer contribution is greater than $500)
  • Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plans that are not an excepted benefit (Plan has employer contributions with the maximum reimbursement greater than two times an employee’s salary reduction election or employer contribution is greater than $500)
  • Retiree plans

Calculating the Fee:

The amount of the PCORI fee is equal to the average number of lives covered during the policy year or plan year multiplied by the applicable dollar amount for the year.

  • For plan years that end on or after October 1, 2018 and before October 1, 2019, the fee is $2.45 per covered life.
  • For plan years that end on or after October 1, 2019 and before October 1, 2020, the fee is $2.54 per covered life.
  • For plan years that end on or after October 1, 2020 and before October 1, 2021, the fee is $2.66 per covered life.

For policy and plan years beginning on or after Oct. 1, 2021, and before Oct. 1, 2022, the applicable dollar amount is further adjusted to reflect inflation in National Health Expenditures, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.


IRS Form 720 and Instructions:

IRS Form 720 can be accessed at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f720.pdf which is an interactive document so that can be completed online.



The PCORI fees are entered on line 133 for the appropriate plans. See pages 8 - 9 of the IRS Instructions for completing these fields. Instructions can be found at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i720.pdf.




Complete the fields on page 8 and make your check or money order payable to “United States Treasury”.


Additional information on the PCORI fees can be found here:
 • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund Fee (IRC 4375, 4376 and 4377): Questions and Answers

• An IRS chart that shows which types of benefits the fee applies to:  Application of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund Fee to Common Types of Health Coverage or Arrangements

• IRS Form 720 Overview

• IRS Form 720 instructions (see pages 8 - 9)


Please Note:
 This information is provided for educational purposes only. It reflects the understanding of HRC Total Solutions and our partners using the available guidance as of the date shown and is subject to change. It is not intended to provide legal advice.  You should not act on this information without consulting legal counsel or tax advisors. (Updated April 2021)


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