Proposed Regulations Expand Use of HRAs to Promote Individual and Portable Health Coverage

On October 29, 2018, proposed regulations were issued that will benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses and millions of workers and their families in the coming years.  Below are just some of the provisions being proposed:

  • Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) would be allowed to be integrated with, and to reimburse premiums for, individual health insurance coverage if certain conditions are met.
  • Employers could offer non-integrated HRAs that qualify as excepted benefits if they meet certain requirements.
  • Employers with HRAs that are integrated with individual health insurance could allow employees to use pre-tax cafeteria plan salary reductions to pay any portion of their individual insurance premiums not covered by the HRA.
  • Premium tax credit consequences for individuals who are offered or covered by an HRA that is integrated with individual health insurance.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also has an individual addition to the proposed rule. This would allow for a special enrollment period for employees and their dependents who gain access to an HRA that is integrated with individual health insurance coverage or are provided with a QSE HRA.

 “Today’s announcement is another example of President Trump delivering on his promise to provide for more affordable health care options for the American people.  More access to association health plans, short-term insurance, and flexible HRAs…,” said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. 

We can expect these proposed rules to be finalized in 2019 to allow for implementation on or after January 1, 2020. BASE® is keeping a close eye on how these new rules could further business owners opportunity for health care tax savings, efficiencies, and administrative ease.

Don’t Be Scared…of the Rising Cost of Health Care

Halloween is just around the corner and who doesn’t love to get a little scared?  But for health care, it seems to be Halloween every day!  With the rising cost of health care, a lot of businesses are afraid of what will happen to their health plans and if it’s possible to continue to provide them to their employees. 

As health care costs continue to rise, more people are skipping their doctor visits altogether.  It doesn’t seem to be the fear of going to the doctor, but the fear of what comes after - the medical bill.  According to a recent national poll, over the past 12 months, 44% of Americans said they didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick or injured because of financial concerns.  Meanwhile, 40% said they skipped a recommended medical test or treatment.

“One of the most important consequences of skipping medical care or delaying care ultimately impacts the quality of care, impacts the outcome,” Cleveland Clinic president and CEO Tom Mihaljevic.  “Ultimately visits or delay of visits to the physician ultimately leads to the increased cost of care.” (How health care costs are making consumers more afraid of medical bills than an actual illness, Trent Gilles, CNBC).  

So what can a business do?

Call and talk to a BASE® Sales Representative about implementing a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) into the business.  An HRA is an employer-funded account that reimburses employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses and individual health insurance premiums.  Employers can help take a little bit of the scare out of having to offer a higher deductible plan to employees.  BASE® knows that HRAs have been around for a while, but that their importance is now greater than ever.

BASE® has three HRAs to fit all types of businesses – self-employed, businesses with a group health plan, and companies who do not offer group health plans, but want to offer a benefits package.  HRAs are widely beneficial to all companies of all sizes, as they lower employer and employee costs.  Each HRA does something a little different, but all plans will help reduce the financial impact of health care expenses, help contain the overall cost of their benefit plan, and all reimbursements are 100% deductible as a business expense.

It’s called HEALTH CARE, not HEALTH SCARE!  So don’t let the rising cost of health care scare a business into not providing their employees the convenience of containing health care costs.  Call BASE® at 1-888-386-9680 or visit TODAY!