House Vote on NAHB-Supported Health Care Bill Set for Week of June 20

Filed in Capitol Hill, Labor, Safety and Health by on June 15, 2016 3 Comments

moneyhealth squareThis post was updated on June 17

The House Ways and Means Committee on June 15 unanimously approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) that would allow small business owners to help their employees pay for health insurance.

NAHB has urged the full House to act promptly on this bill and the chamber is expected to vote on the measure during the week of June 20.

The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act of 2015 (H.R. 5447) would allow home building firms and other small businesses to provide Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), which let employers contribute something to their employee health costs. Specifically, HRAs allow small businesses to offer pre-tax dollars to insured employees to help pay premiums and/or other out-of-pocket costs associated with medical care and services.

HRAs are very flexible and affordable, allowing employers to design their plan to meet the unique needs of their company. All employer contributions to the plan are 100% deductible to the employer, and tax-free to the employee, making this a great benefit to help workers to obtain health insurance.

Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance in 2013 stating that employers are no longer able to use HRAs because they don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Not only did the IRS make HRAs illegal, the agency decreed that all 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. This $100 per day penalty went into effect on July 1, 2015.

NAHB has led the charge working independently and with a coalition of other business organizations to remedy this injustice by calling on the IRS to revoke its ruling on the use of HRAs and pushing for a congressional solution. The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act would reinstate the use of HRAs and rescind the punitive IRS penalties associated with them.

For more information, contact Suzanne Beall at 800-368-5242 x8407.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Excellent NAHB directive and direction! ONwards and UPwards!

  2. Framer from Wisconsin says:

    good news as this will help the industry and employers attract new/young tradespeople; unfortunately the current view is that the building trades don’t have much to offer from a compensation & benefits standpoint.

  3. Jim Irre says:

    If NAHB can manage to get this passed, they’ll then have to start working on the states to incorporate this same advantage into state law. Maryland comes to mind . . .

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