Rep. Kelly Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Health Savings Accounts

Mar 5, 2018 Issues: Health Care

Bill will improve health care costs & choices for millions of Americans

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of H.R. 5138, the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act, in the House of Representatives. The legislation would improve Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for millions of Americans by expanding access and increasing benefit flexibility, thereby making health care more affordable. It was co-authored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and is being co-sponsored by Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Ron Kind (D-WI), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Brain Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

Rep. Kelly:

“More than 20 million Americans are enrolled in HSA-qualified plans. These plans put people in the driver’s seat of their health care, helping them save money and stay healthy. With so many people increasingly choosing HSA plans, it is important that federal rules allow employers to provide the best benefits possible for their employees. By modernizing HSA policy, this bipartisan bill will promote flexibility, encourage innovation, and expand access to these cost-saving plans for many more Americans.”

Rep. Blumenauer:

“By expanding access to affordable care, promoting wellness, and strengthening innovation, this legislation will help Americans stay healthy while saving money.”

The Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act includes the following reforms:

·         Allows HSA plans to offer pre-deductible coverage of health services at onsite employee clinics and retail health clinics.

·         Allowing HSA plans to offer pre-deductible coverage for services and medication that manage chronic conditions.

·         Permitting the use of HSA dollars toward wellness benefits, including exercise and other expenses associated with physical activity.

·         Clarifying that employers can offer “excepted benefits”, like telehealth and second opinion services to employees with an HSA plan.

·         Technical changes to correct the definition of “dependents”, streamline FSA conversion, and fix the prohibition on a spouse using an HSA. 

The legislation is supported by numerous organizations:

James A. Klein, President, American Benefits Council:

"Health savings accounts are popular and effective tools for employers striving to provide affordable coverage to working families. On behalf of these employers, the American Benefits Council strongly supports legislation that would allow for continued HSA innovation and we look forward to working with Representatives Kelly and Blumenauer on this promising new bill." 

Annette Guarisco Fildes, President and CEO, ERISA Industry Committee:

“ERIC strongly endorses the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act of 2018. Representatives Kelly Blumenauer have produced a significant and much-needed bill that would expand and modernize HSA policies, improving health care options for more than 20 million Americans.”

Mary R. Grealy, President, Healthcare Leadership Council:

“Rising incidence rates of multiple chronic diseases represent the greatest challenge our healthcare system is facing. We applaud and support this bipartisan effort to not only strengthen access to health savings accounts, but to expand the flexibility of these consumer-directed plans to cover wellness and disease prevention services.” 

Neil Trautwein, Vice President for Health Care Policy, National Retail Federation:

“We share the goal of improving HSAs to meet the needs of working families, a goal deserving of the bipartisan support it enjoys. Meeting the day-to-day needs of those with chronic health care conditions and bringing care closer to home in retail clinics are important, consumer-friendly reforms.”

Tom Cove, President & CEO, Sports & Fitness Industry Association:

“HSA’s are a major component of our healthcare system, and making them more consumer friendly will give Americans more options to use these accounts to suit their individual needs. These HSA improvements will promote prevention and wellness and encourage all Americans to make good decisions about their health.”

Sally S. Johnson, Executive Director, National Council of Youth Sports:

“Youth sports is the foundation for a healthy life and modifying HSAs to help families with activity costs will lead to more active children. Culture change starts with young people and we need to do all we can to give them a platform for lifelong fitness.”

NOTE: HSAs were established by the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003. Currently more than 20 million Americans are covered by HSAs, which has more than doubled in the past five years.

BACKGROUND: In May 2017, Rep. Kelly introduced the Faith in Health Savings Accounts Act (H.R. 2310, also known as the Faith in HSAs Act), which would allow members of Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs) to use HSAs to save money on medical expenses without having to purchase a high deductible health insurance plan. The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), and was previously introduced by Rep. Kelly in April 2015. According to U.S. News & World Report, “the one-sentence Kelly bill would allow millions of people of faith to save tax-free for their medical expenses. … In uniting the two concepts, Kelly has done something astonishing. He has come up with a non-partisan, non-ideological, non-controversial health care reform that would actually make the world better.”