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New Health Care Bills Are a Step in the Right Direction for Tax-Favored Plans

H.R. 6199“Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018.” 

H.R. 6311“Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018.”

On Wednesday, July 25, 2018, Health Care bills, H.R. 6199 and H.R. 6311, were adopted by the House of Representatives.  These bills could expand tax-advantaged health care accounts, including Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).

Each bill is designed to do something different, but they have one common goal - to enhance and protect health care for all working individuals and families and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA), making sure it stays true to its original promise of lowering health care costs.  These laws would not be considered a repeal of the ACA, but a correction to a few provisions in the ACA.   

In 2003, consumers were able to use their HRA and FSA to store up to help pay for their medical expenses.  At any time throughout the year, you could purchase a bottle of Tylenol, pay for a doctor visit, and pick up a prescription from the pharmacy with your pre-tax dollars.  However, in 2011 a provision in the ACA restricted the use of pre-taxed dollars for over-the-counter (OTC) products.  In order to use the tax-advantaged health care accounts, consumers had to have a prescription in order to be reimbursed.  This created a barrier for employees from buying medication for their seasonal allergies, taking medicine such as Tylenol for their pain management, etc.  (Allow HSA dollars to be used for over-the-counter drugs).

With the passing of these Health Care bills, OTC medications will be eligible to be purchased and sports/fitness expenses will be treated as qualified medical expenses for tax-advantaged health care accounts.  The way an individual or family can contribute will change, as well as, including being able to contribute to an HSA if their spouse has an FSA.  There will also be the option to carry over FSA balances to the following year up to three times the annual limit.

For more in-depth information on the two Health Care bills, please click here.  As these bills make their way around Congress, BASE® will continue to keep you updated! 

Check out the NEW Tool in hr360

Businesses that use hr360 already know it is a complete online Human Resources Compliance Library full of must-have HR tools, forms, and guidance.  It is an online library that features dynamic interactive HR tools at your fingertips.  It assists employers every step of the way in order to stay compliant with major laws including Health Care Reform, COBRA, and FMLA as well as key HR tasks.

And now, hr360 has added a NEW COBRA Notices Generator tool to assist employers.  The addition of the COBRA Notices Generator allows you to create the COBRA notices needed in 3 easy steps.  Hr360 subscribers simply fill out the plan and administrator information, answer some questions, and download COBRA notices in a snap!

The COBRA Notices Generator will create:

  • General Notice of COBRA Rights: Must be provided to employees and their spouses within the first 90 days of coverage under a group health plan. 
  • Notice of COBRA Qualifying Event: Must be provided to the plan administrator when the employee experiences a COBRA qualifying event.
  • COBRA Election Notice: Must be provided to COBRA-eligible individuals to notify them of the COBRA coverage available to them when they experience a COBRA qualifying event. 
  • Notice of Unavailability of COBRA Coverage: Must be provided to individuals not eligible for COBRA coverage or a COBRA extension. 
  • Notice of Underpayment of COBRA Premium: Must be provided to COBRA recipients that have not made a sufficient COBRA payment for a given month. 
  • Notice of Early Termination of COBRA Coverage: Must be provided to COBRA recipients whose COBRA coverage is being terminated early.

The COBRA Notices Generator currently generates notices to help the following employers satisfy their COBRA notice obligations:

  • All employers in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New York, and Washington.
  • Employers with 20 or more employees in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Hr360 is packed with guidelines, forms, instructional videos, tools, and checklists that touch on some of the hottest topics in HR today – recruitment and hiring, performance reviews, discipline and termination, motivating employees, safety and wellness, and much more.  If a business has to deal with it, it is in hr360!

To learn more about streaming HR Compliance, watch this short video on hr360, and call BASE® at 1-888-386-9680 to start your subscription for just $30 annually today.