The full House late Wednesday passed bills to expand the use of health savings accounts, which industry officials say will make the plans more palatable to employers, and also increases the maximum contribution limits that can be made to an HSA.
“Health care has evolved,” Paul Fronstin, director of the Health Research and Education Program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, told ThinkAdvisor on Thursday. “HSA plans have had these restrictions on them that may not make sense anymore.”
The two bills are: The Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018, H.R. 6311, sponsored by Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018, H.R. 6199, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas.
H.R. 6199 allows certain over-the-counter medicines, menstrual care products and some physical fitness-related costs to be counted as qualified medical expenses.
The bill gives employers “more flexibility on what is subject to the deductible,” Fronstin said.
The bill “would allow flexibility around first-dollar coverage,” which means that “the service is covered in full, and patients wouldn’t have to pay a deductible, co-payment or coinsurance,” he explained. “This provision would allow employers to provide first-dollar coverage for various health care services without subjecting them to the high deductible.”
When the HSAs law passed, it said that “everything other than certain preventive services had to be subject to the high deductible.”
The bill will likely make HSAs more palatable to employers, which would likely mean “more people covered by these plans,” Fronstin continued.