“A new Republican Senate bill seeks to facilitate the use of tax-advantaged health savings accounts (HSA) and flexible spending arrangements by loosening the rules that govern them,” says a recent post from The Hill. On Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced legislation to get rid of what they have labeled, “onerous” restrictions on HSAs. This would include the current ban that disallows the spending of HSA dollars on over-the-counter drugs tax-free.
This looks like great news for us as we’re trying to help people out of the insurance trap. As the host of Night Talker Radio Network said during a podcast with Dr. Doug, he doesn’t want to be 50 years old, paying $1,200 a month in case he gets a sore throat. A bill like this is one less shackle tying us to an entrenched, greedy system. It’s sure to cause a stir with opponents. We’re curious to see how they attack it, and are keeping an eye out for what other legislation is proposed within the bill. Obviously, based on the issues presented, we’re entirely on board.
In a statement, Hatch said, “Streamlining these popular healthcare products, as our legislation does, will provide millions of families, workers, and retirees the opportunity to put away tax-free savings to pay for their personal medical costs.” Republicans support the accounts since it would encourage patients to be aware of what they’re spending on healthcare while also getting a tax benefit. Of course, opponents claim that Uncle Same loses self-sustaining revenue on HSAs. Either way, we see the market being made more free, and this is something we’re advocating through our work here at Atlas MD.
A companion House bill was introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.). According to online statements “The measure would also permit HSAs to be used to purchase low-premium health and long-term care insurance, allow married couples to make catch-up contributions to the same HSA, and encourage exercise and good nutrition by redefining some qualified medical expenses.”
Because the Hatch-Paulsen bills would allow monthly primary care fees to be paid with pre-tax funds, the Direct Primary Care coalition has applauded the federal legislation in a press release. According to their statement, they believe that it will make primary care “more accessible, affordable and effective.” We’re equally optimistic.
Hatch-Rubio bill Would Modify HSA, FSA Rules | The Hill
Direct Primary Care Coalition Applauds Federal Legislation to Make Primary Care More Accessible, Affordable and Effective | Press Release