HSA News for July 22, 2019

HSA news compiled weekly by Mr. HSA, Roy Ramthun.

News from Washington

IRS Expands HDHP Coverage of Chronic Conditions

Employees with HDHPs no longer have to pay off their deductible before insurance covers chronic disease medications now that new rules from the IRS and Treasury Department have determined that chronic disease medications qualify as preventive care under HSA-qualified plans.

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Reps. Bera, Smith Introduce Bill to Expand HSAs to Seniors Covered by Medicare

Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) announced on July 18 that they have introduced a bipartisan bill (H.R. 3796) that would allow seniors covered under Medicare to continue using or create new HSAs. Seniors covered by Medicare are not eligible for HSAs under current law.

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House Votes to Repeal Obamacare's 'Cadillac Tax'

The House of Representatives voted on July 17 to repeal Obamacare’s “Cadillac Tax” on high-cost health plans. The wide bipartisan vote of 419-6 illustrates how the tax is one of the few areas of Obamacare that has opposition across the political aisle.

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Federal Judge Upholds Trump's Expansion of Non-ACA Health Plans

On July 19, a federal judge in Washington, DC upheld the Trump administration's expansion of insurance plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act. The judge ruled that the federal government has the legal authority to allow "short-term" health insurance for up to three years.

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Health Care Moves to Center Stage in Democratic Primary Fight

Democrats successfully took control of the House by running on protecting Obamacare during the 2018 midterm election, but are now struggling with internal divisions over whether to move beyond the health law and dramatically expand the government’s role in providing care.

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As Opponents Tout Medicare for All, Biden Leans Into Obamacare

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden wants to add a public option to the existing U.S. health insurance system and work to make coverage more affordable, according to a plan his campaign released July 15. Biden’s health care proposals rely on keeping the Affordable Care Act in place while other Democratic presidential candidates are embracing versions of a Medicare for All.

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HSA Compliance Corner

IRS Expands HSA Benefits for Chronic Conditions

The Treasury Department has expanded the preventive care benefits that can be provided by high-deductible health plans to include a range of chronic conditions. Notice 2019-45 lists the new types of medical care that can be treated as preventive care for this purpose.

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Employees in Two States Miss Out on One HSA Benefit

There are a few exceptions at the state level to the triple-tax advantage that many people, including HSA plan participants, do not seem to be aware of. California and New Jersey are the two states that do not offer tax-free contributions at the state level while all states are exempt from federal government taxes on HSA contributions.

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HSA Industry Best Practices

"Health Savings Account" - Spell It Out

I listened to a conference-call discussion of the result of some recent consumer polling about HSAs. Among the many interesting observations and conclusions was this: Consumers respond far more favorably to the term "Health Savings Accounts" than the acronym "HSAs."

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The Value of HSAs: Changing the Perception

There is a perception among employees that you can no longer have a quality health care plan that is also affordable. Employees falsely believe that you need to compromise one for the other. Because of this belief, employees continue to be confused about HDHPs and HSAs and how to effectively use them. As brokers and benefits managers, you can begin to change this perception.

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The HSA Market

Millions of Americans Could Benefit From Newly Introduced Legislation

A bi-partisan effort in Congress is underway that would allow Medicare recipients to open and contribute to an HSA. H.R.3796 would allow more than 57 million Americans 65 and older currently enrolled in Medicare to participate in HSAs. Currently, people enrolled in Medicare cannot open a new HSA, and those who had an HSA before enrolling in Medicare cannot contribute more to their HSAs.

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How Business Leaders Can Reduce Healthcare Spend (and Still Take Care of Employees)

With healthcare premiums rising, every business needs a strategy to help reduce expenses—while still taking care of employees—for the life of the company. Planning for the future is critical. So, how can you help employees better prepare for health costs and relieve financial anxiety? An HSA is one solution.

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Rising Health Insurance Deductibles Fuel Middle-Class Anger and Resentment

Many wealthy Americans have weathered the dramatic increase in deductibles in recent years in part by putting away money in HSAs. But the middle-class squeeze and the class divisions it is exposing are among the corrosive effects of the high-deductible revolution.

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HSAs & Retirement

Retiring This Year? How Much You’ll Need for Health-Care Costs

A 65-year-old couple in good health will need $387,644 to pay for health-care costs for the remainder of their lives, according to HealthView Services. That sum includes premiums for Medicare Parts B and D, dental insurance and out-of-pocket costs related to doctor’s exams, hearing services and more. The estimate excludes long-term care expenses.

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Here's Why Middle-Aged Workers Need to Worry About Healthcare in Retirement

If you're in your 40s or 50s, you may not be all that concerned about paying for healthcare in retirement just yet. But you should know that you could be looking at some pretty serious numbers, and need to plan accordingly.

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Stopping a Retirement Crisis

Currently, America has a retirement plan coverage gap, a retirement savings gap and a guaranteed income gap, which plan sponsors and lawmakers need to address to avoid a retirement crisis.

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Maximizing Your HSA

Wheelchairs, Blood Sugar Monitors and Other Amazon Prime Day HSA-Eligible Deals

Why not double down on Amazon’s Prime Day sales by purchasing health care products tax-free? Employees with HSAs and FSAs can both take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Day and enjoy the tax-free benefits of their accounts. There are a plethora of products available for HSA and FSA spending, including sunscreen, first-aid kits, and contact solution, although patients may not know it.

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Can I Take an HSA Withdrawal for Non-Medical Purposes?

If you spend your HSA funds for qualified medical purposes, your withdrawals are tax-free. But let's say you need money for a non-medical expense, and you don't have it in the bank. You may be tempted to tap your HSA, but before you do, understand that there could be some pretty serious consequences.

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Consumer-Driven Health Care

8 Solid Strategies for Reining in Your Healthcare Costs

USA Today reports that a family of four spends more than $28,000 on average for healthcare costs. Premiums make up a big chunk of that cost, but those bills that pop up when you need care add up, too. Here are some strategies for reining in your healthcare costs.

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Bryan CaplanComment