ERIC and Broad Coalition Push Health Savings Account Reforms for Omnibus

March 14, 2018

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Kelly Broadway, 202.627.1918, kbroadway@eric.org

For Immediate Release

 

ERIC and Broad Coalition Push Health Savings Account Reforms for Omnibus

New Independent Budget Score Confirms Minimal Budget Impact

Washington, DC  – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) has teamed with a diverse coalition of partners to promote a bipartisan legislative package to fix longstanding challenges with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans. Today, ERIC and other coalition members have released a budget estimate showing that these HSA fixes would have only a nominal impact on the federal budget - thus eliminating one of the primary objections that could have prevented these needed reforms and modernization provisions from being included in the coming omnibus spending package.

According to new data from the National Health Interview Survey, more than 43 percent of Americans under age 65 with private insurance were enrolled in high-deductible plans in the first nine months of 2017. That's notably up from about 39 percent of Americans under age 65 in 2016 — and well above the 25 percent with high-deductible plans in 2010.

“For years, ERIC, along with a diverse community of stakeholders, has advocated for updates and changes to HSAs. The time for change is long overdue. Congress must act now and include this important bipartisan legislation in the omnibus spending bill,” said James Gelfand, Senior Vice President of Health Policy, ERIC.

The package of reforms are individual bills that have been aggregated, in part, into H.R. 5138, a bill introduced by Reps Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) last week. Also part of the package is H.R. 365 introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

Provisions include:

  • Greater flexibility to offer first-dollar coverage of health services at an onsite employee clinic and retail health clinic
  • Clarifying that “excepted benefits,” which are non-major medical benefits like telehealth and second opinion services, do not jeopardize a beneficiary’s eligibility to contribute to an HSA
  • Correcting the definition of "dependents" to include adult children who may not be tax dependents
  • Greater flexibility to offer first-dollar coverage of services and medications for chronic disease prevention
  • Streamlining conversion and interactions between Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and HSAs
  • Permitting the use of HSA dollars toward wellness benefits, including exercise and other expenses associated with the sole purpose of participating in physical activity;
  • Clarifying that direct primary care arrangements are not insurance and may be offered alongside an HSA, and paid for with HSA funds
  • Permitting an employee to contribute to an HSA even if his or her spouse has a health Flexible Spending Account.

ERIC will continue to work with lawmakers on improving and modernizing HSA rules, and fighting for the more than 20 million Americans that have HSA coverage.

About the ERISA Industry Committee
The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the state, federal, and local levels. Learn more at eric.org.