House Committee Contemplates Bill That Would Reduce Employer Health Benefit Costs

Also being considered is legislation for expanding benefits of HSAs.

The House Ways and Means Committee is considering bills that would reduce employer costs for health benefits coverage and expand benefits of health savings accounts (HSAs).

Among one of the bills considered is legislation to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide for a temporary moratorium on the employer mandate and to provide for a delay in the implementation of the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage (also referred to as the Cadillac Tax).

It would provide retroactive relief from the ACA’s employer mandate from 2015 through 2018 and delay for one additional year (until 2023) the 40% Cadillac Tax. “We encourage the committee to go even farther by fully repealing the ACA’s employer mandate and ‘Cadillac Tax,’ both of which strain employer resources and impose greater out-of-pocket costs on working families,” American Benefits Council President James A. Klein said in a statement.

In addition, The Alliance to Fight the 40| Don’t Tax My Health Care says it “continues to advocate for full repeal of the 40% “Cadillac Tax” that is set to tax employer-provided health plans. The Alliance is pleased that the Ways & Means Committee is considering legislation to further delay the 40% ‘Cadillac Tax.’ Delaying this tax for one additional year is a step in the right direction. Until we achieve a full and permanent repeal of this tax, 178 million Americans will continue to be threatened by shrinking benefits and higher out-of-pocket costs and other negative results of this onerous tax.”

The American Benefits Council says other measures under consideration by the committee would expand the availability and utility of HSAs. The Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act, introduced in March, would make a number of changes to the law governing HSAs, including provisions expanding the kinds of services that could be covered under a health plan without being subject to a deductible. For example, this bill grants employers and plans new flexibility to cover chronic disease prevention before a patient has met his or her deductible

“We applaud efforts to increase HSA contributions and expand HSA-eligible coverage for working seniors and spouses with health flexible spending accounts. Approval of these measures would be a helpful first step toward increased take-up by employees and innovation by employers,” Klein said.