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It was a busy week for the House of Representatives. Two bills were passed on Wednesday that will have a big impact on your healthcare and coverage. These bills focused on revamping regulations that currently surround Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) but also included a small but important piece of legislation that will delay the Obamacare health insurance tax. Here’s what you need to know.
Bills To Expand Health Savings Accounts
The two bills passed were titled the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act (H.R. 6199) and the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018 (H.R. 6311). The first of the bills, H.R. 6199, passed 277-142 with the goal of providing more flexibility to the coverage offered by Health Savings Accounts.
The Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act ultimately allows HSAs to offer better coverage, even before deductibles are met. This means plan members can use more of their funds before deductible or other out-of-pocket expenses are met, saving money on healthcare costs. H.R. 6199 will also permit spouses to deposit funds to an HSA account, increasing the amount of pre-taxed funds available to use on healthcare cost. Lastly, this bill adds over the counter drugs to the list of eligible expenses, meaning HSA members can now use their funds to help subsidize the cost of medication.
The second of the bills, the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018 (we’ll refer to it as H.R. 6311 moving forward), which passed 242-176, also made changes to Health Savings Accounts. HSA members can now contribute more funds to their accounts, which will provide greater flexibility and protection against rising healthcare costs. Additionally, H.R. 6311 will add catastrophic health insurance plans to the Marketplace, and delayed the Obamacare health insurance tax.
Obamacare Health Insurance Tax Delayed
With health insurance premiums on the rise and midterm elections coming up, it makes sense for the GOP to do what they can to curb rate hikes. H.R. 6311 added a provision that would delay the Obamacare tax for an additional 2 years, something health insurance companies have been pushing for.
The controversial Obamacare tax has been heavily criticized by the GOP, and even by members of the DNC. The tax, which began in 2014, imposed taxes on health insurance companies whose premiums exceeded $50M annually. The tax effectively raised health insurance premiums for individuals, families, and small businesses, while larger employers who self-insure were exempt.
What The Obamacare Tax Delay Means For You
The delay will actually benefit you, the consumer. In 2015, the last time the Obamacare tax was in effect, it cost health insurance companies approximately $11B. So, when you saw health insurance premiums spike year after year, you know why. However, with the tax delay, it provided financial relief for health insurers, which will mean more affordable health insurance plans for you.