Four things you need to know about the Trump Administration’s proposed regs.
The U.S. Departments of the Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Labor issued a proposed regulation that expands the usability of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) in late October. If adopted as written, the new rules would apply for most health plans beginning January 1, 2020.
Here are four things healthcare executives should know about the proposal.
Under ICHRAs, employees contract directly with a health plan. “The employer provides the funding, but that’s all,” Barkett says. “If an employee wants to keep their plan when they leave a job, they’re free to do so.”
Populations that seek greater health coverage or less costly health insurance could also benefit most from the new regulation, says Saeed Aminzadeh, CEO, Decision Point Healthcare Solutions, a predictive analytics management company. An employer-sponsored plan may not be rich enough in terms of benefits for certain populations (e.g., the inclusion of richer, standalone dental benefits). Under the regulation, individuals would have greater flexibility to use an HRA to shop for and fund these types of coverages. Conversely, healthier individuals with limited health insurance needs may not want to share in the cost of a rich employer-sponsored health insurance plan. These individuals can have an opportunity to shop for a less costly, more limited insurance plan.
If HRAs are widely adopted by employers and individuals, Tacchino says it could drive more enrollment in individual markets. “This would offset risk of the markets, which have been undermined by the repeal of the individual mandate, and could lead to lower premiums,” he says. “Improvement to the healthcare system will be subject to adoption and education.”
Dahl says the proposed regulations will remove some barriers for individuals who are not currently covered by major medical plans or who currently receive no employer contributions toward healthcare to do so. “The greater the number of people covered by major medical plans, the better it will be for the U.S. healthcare system,” he says.
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.