Here’s some good news out of Washington: Last week, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation that will protect small businesses from punitive fines and help their employees pay for health care services.
“The 21stCentury Cures Act will help small businesses assist their employees with medical expenses through Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). Earlier this year, the Society of American Florists signed a letter to congressional leaders urging them to include the bill’s small business-friendly language.
“Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is illegal for employers to help with their employees’ health care by reimbursing the costs of those services,” explained Shawn McBurney, SAF’s senior director of government relations. “Employers can face fines of $100 per day per employee if they offer this benefit to their workers. That can add up to $36,500 per employee over the course of a year and up to $500,000 per company.”
After the enactment of the 21st Century Cures Act with the HRA language, “employers will once again be able to assist their employees with paying for health care without being penalized and fined,” McBurney said.
The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 392 to 26 with the Senate approving the measure on a 94 to 5 vote. President Obama is expected the sign the bill.