Treasury Action on Health Care Law a Good First Step but Legislative Solution Needed

Filed in Advocacy by on February 18, 2015 0 Comments

80407780In a positive development for small business owners, the U.S. Treasury Department announced today that it will delay enforcement of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibition relating to standalone health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) until July 1.

“While today’s announcement by the Treasury Department is a step forward in helping small businesses to provide affordable health coverage to their employees, a short-term delay isn’t good enough,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods. “Congressional action is needed to make this change permanent.”

NAHB has been working on several fronts to achieve this goal. NAHB CEO Jerry Howard discussed the issue of standalone HRAs in a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on Feb. 5.

In addition, NAHB is calling on Congress to advance legislation based on the bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) in the waning days of the 113th Congress that would reverse the IRS regulation preventing small businesses from providing employees with standalone HRAs.

A standalone HRAs is an employer-provided benefit that offers participants a spending account to reimburse them for qualified medical expenses. However, in light of the ACA’s ban against health plans with an annual dollar limit on essential benefits, standalone HRAs have been deemed impermissible.

“We look forward to working with Reps. Boustany and Thompson to re-introduce legislation that will require the IRS to reverse its regulation preventing small businesses from providing standalone HRAs so that they can provide better health coverage to their employees at lower costs,” said Woods.

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