On Wednesday, the House adopted two health care bills that expand tax-advantaged health care accounts, including HSAs, FSAs and HRAs. Here's what's in them.
If passed, the bills would allow more flexibility in the definition of a high deductible health plan, as well as how consumers can spend their savings for medical needs. (Photo: Shutterstock)
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives adopted two health care bills, H.R. 6199 and H.R. 6311, that expand tax-advantaged health care accounts, including Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).
Previous versions of these bills were reported upon favorably by the House Ways and Means Committee on July 11th followed by the Committee on Rules on July 23rd.
Related: Insurers give congress 3 ideas for making HSAs better
The House-approved versions of these bills would have important implications for HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs. Some notable examples include:
• Individuals would now be able to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medications with an HSA, FSA, or HRA without being required to obtain a prescription for eligibility purposes
• Menstrual care products would become qualified medical expenses that could be purchased with all tax-advantaged health care accounts
• Certain sports and fitness expenses – including gym memberships and the cost to participate in certain physical exercise programs – would be treated as qualified medical expenses up to a limit of $500 a year for an individual and $1,000 a year for a joint return
• HSA contribution would be raised to $6,650 for individuals and $13,300 for families – the combined annual limit on out-of-pocket and deductible expenses under an HSA-qualified insurance plan in 2018
• Working seniors participating in Medicare Part A and covered by a qualifying HDHP would now be able to contribute to an HSA
• Individuals would no longer be barred from contributing to an HSA if his/her spouse is enrolled in a medical FSA – a disqualifying scenario currently
• Spouses over the age of 55 would be able to make “catch-up” contributions to the same HSA
• At an employer’s discretion, employees with an FSA or HRA that enroll in a qualifying HDHP with an HSA would be permitted to transfer balances from their FSA or HRA to the HSA. Transfers would be capped at $2,650 for individuals and $5,300 for families
• Health FSA balances could be carried over to the following plan year. This rollover could not exceed three times the annual FSA contribution limit
“ConnectYourCare supports the modernization of Health Savings Accounts and other consumer directed health programs to allow more Americans to save for the current and future medical needs,” wrote Harrison Stone, General Counsel at ConnectYourCare, in a statement.
“The bills passed by the House of Representatives would allow a greater number of consumers to take advantage Health Savings Accounts by allowing more flexibility in the definition of a high deductible health plan. Also included in these bills are important changes that would allow greater flexibility in how consumers can spend their savings for individual and family medical needs. CYC supports passage of these improvements to the law surrounding health savings accounts and will continue working with its industry partners to encourage the Senate to take up and pass these measures.”
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