Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are getting ready to vote on H.R. 5447, a bill that could let small employers reimburse employees for individual health insurance premiums.
H.R. 5447, the Small Business Health Care Relief Act of 2016 bill, would let a small employer provide up to $5,130 in reimbursement for coverage that pays medical expenses for an individual employee and up to $10,260 in reimbursement for medical expense coverage for families.
The reimbursement caps would be adjusted for inflation.
The employer would have to warn an employee using a “qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement” that the arrangement itself was not minimum essential coverage, or MEC (which many pronounce as “meck”).
An employee could use the new reimbursement arrangement to pay for MEC
Under the Affordable Care Act, many taxpayers now need to have MEC, or what the government defines as solid major medical coverage, to avoid paying an individual mandate penalty.
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., introduced H.R. 5447. At press time, House leaders said the measure could come to the House floor as early as Tuesday evening.
What the legislation would do
Republicans have had trouble getting similar health coverage-related measures to the Senate floor, but they have succeeded at getting some, such as postponement of an Affordable Care Act tax to be imposed on high-cost health plans, through Congress by attaching them to must-pass budget bills.