Rep. Lynn Jenkins is trying to persuade federal regulators to make room for health account plans as they fine-tune health coverage actuarial value regulations.
Jenkins, R-Kan., is asking President Obama to get the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ease up on sellers of the high-deductible health plans that are compatible with health savings accounts (HSAs).
Proposed HHS regulations and interim final HHS regulations would discriminate against HSA-compatible high-deductible plans, Jenkins wrote in a letter sent to Obama today.
If HHS starts applying the regulations, “HSAs will be scarce and expensive,” Jenkins said, according to a copy of the letter posted by the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), a group that represents users, sellers and administrators of benefit plans.
If HHS keeps the current version of the actuarial valuation regulations in effect, it could strangle the HSA program, Jenkins said.
HHS officials are working on the actuarial valuation regulations and related regulations to implement Section 1302 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
PPACA is supposed to create a new system of health insurance exchanges, or Web-based insurance supermarkets. If the system works as PPACA drafters hope, individuals and small businesses will use new PPACA tax credit subsidies to buy health coverage through the exchanges.
To help consumers and employers compare the plans sold through the exchanges, PPACA drafters created a “metal level” system.