If you currently make use of HRAs or are planning to in the future then there are a few things that you need to know about this proposal.
What Is The Proposal?
This proposal is the third part of Trump's October 2017 executive order. The proposal, when finalized, would add two new types of HRAs:
- An excepted benefits HRA allowing you to save up to $1,800 per year to pay for things like vision, dental, long-term care, and nursing home care.
- An individual coverage HRA that will allow employers to reimburse employees for health insurance that they purchase themselves on the individual marketplace.
The goal of these changes is to provide more choices for both employers and consumers about where they get their health insurance. Overall, these changes have been positively received by the industry. It's the timetable for these changes that has some people worried.
So What's The Issue?
As it often goes with new regulations, many industry leaders are worried about deadlines. Under the current deadline, these new rules would go into effect for all plans beginning on or after January 1st, 2020. While that may seem like a lot of time, these new changes are extremely complex. Health insurers are worried that a year and some change isn't enough time to fully implement these new rules effectively.
These concerns were voiced by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a political advocacy organization representing health insurance companies. In a letter sent to the secretaries of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services the AHIP recommended that this deadline be pushed back to no sooner than January 1st, 2021.
Nothing is finalized yet, so it's entirely possible that these concerns will be taken into account and the deadline will be pushed back. The last day for comments on the proposed regulations was December 28th, 2018. Now it's just a game of wait and see.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Honestly, this is difficult to answer right now. Nothing is finalized and even the timetable to implement these changes is up in the air for now. The main takeaway is that most of the time when lawmakers propose regulatory changes, it ends up being a mixed bag. As a business there's only so much you can do to impact regulation. Should lawmakers choose to ignore recommendations from the AHIP, for example, this could affect you downstream in some as-of-yet unforeseen ways.
None of this means that you're helpless when it comes to controlling your healthcare spending. There are steps that you could be taking right now. Finding out what works for your business does require some trial and error, but the way you really lose is by remaining a passive agent. For more information about providing affordable benefits that are also satisfying for your employees, please contact us today.