Last week the House Ways and Means Committee reviewed and approved 11 healthcare related bills which will now make their way to the House floor.
Among the bills that were voted out of the Committee was the Employer Relief Act of 2018 (H.R. 4616) which would retroactively suspend the ACA’s employer mandate penalties for the 2015 through 2018 tax years. The bill would also delay the Cadillac tax for another year until 2023.
The Cadillac tax was created as a way to help fund benefits to the uninsured under the ACA. Starting in 2018, employers were supposed to begin paying a 40 percent tax on costs of health plans that are above $10,200 per individual and $27,500 for family coverage.
But employers aggressively delayed the tax, convincing a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers that the tax wasn’t just for companies with lucrative benefit packages. In January President Donald Trump signed legislation to delay the Cadillac tax from 2020 to 2022. H.R. 4616 delays it even further.
According to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), if passed in its current form, the Employer Relief Act would cost $39.5 billion over 10 years. This price tag could get even bigger if, as Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady predicted it might, the bill gets amended to include a repeal of the medical device tax.
Also approved were a number of bills relating to health savings account (HSAs) and other tax-favored accounts, like health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and flexible spending arrangements (FSAs). These included H.R. 6306, which would increase the annual contribution limits for HSAs from $2,250 to $5,000 for self-only coverage (or from $4,500 to $10,000 for family coverage) and allow both spouses to make catch up contributions to the same HSA.
H.R. 6199 was also approved. It would expand the list of allowable items which can be paid by tax favored health accounts to include the purchase of over the counter medications.
These pieces of legislation came on the heels of new regulations relating to Association Health Plans or AHPs. SAF is continuing to explore the possibility of creating an AHP to help members cope with the rising costs of health insurance.