Small Businesses See Big Savings With HRAs

Filed in Economics, Labor, Legal by on August 31, 2017 0 Comments

As fall approaches, so too does the open enrollment period when millions of Americans assess their health care coverage and costs.

Medical costs continue to rise for many, and employers who want to offer viable health care coverage options to their employees without breaking the bank will need a sound strategy.

In 2002, the IRS instituted one such strategy by creating health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). This gave employers the ability to reimburse insured employees for a portion of their medical expenses using pre-tax dollars.

Though considered by many employees as a high-value benefit, HRAs were eradicated in 2013 by the IRS, which then imposed fines on any employer who continued providing them — fines that would total as much as $36,500 per employee over the course of just one year.

But thanks in large part to the efforts of NAHB, with the support of a large coalition of business groups, the 21st Century Cures Act was passed last year and became effective Jan. 1.

NAHB played a critical role in urging Congress to add a section within the Act that would restore the ability of small business owners to offer stand-alone HRAs and rescind those costly penalties on employers.

Economists at NAHB evaluated the financial impact of eliminating those excessive fees, and they determined the effect is equal to each NAHB member saving approximately $900 with each housing start.

For more details on the value of this legislative victory and other member benefits, visit

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