An 8-page legal letter asks multiple federal departments to recognize DPC membership dues as tax-free medical expenses
WASHINGTON, January 4, 2019 — Last week the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) received an official request from the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation (D4PCF) to recognize dues paid to direct primary care (DPC) practices as tax-free medical expenses reimbursable by employers.
Multiple federal departments ought to clarify “that the monthly fees associated with DPCs are qualified medical expenses which can be offset by HRA funds,” states the eight-page letter, which has 31 footnotes citing federal regulations and court cases.
DPC membership is not a form of insurance, so dues are a legitimate medical expense, D4PCF argues. Consequently, patients should be allowed to submit their monthly membership costs—which range from $40 to $150 per person—to their employers for tax-free reimbursement, if their employers offer health reimbursement accounts (HRAs).
The Trump administration appears amenable to the viewpoint that tax protection for DPC patients is long overdue, according to a statement made by D4PCF Board President Dr. Lee Gross upon filing the letter:
“The direct primary care community has spent many years frustrated by the lack of progress in fixing the HSA issue that has hamstrung the DPC movement for so long. D4PCF recognized an opportunity to advance this initiative through our multiple meetings with the executive branch, while also working through our legislative priorities.
“D4PCF engaged the Washington, D.C. law firm of Foley Hoag to draft a legal basis for allowing HRAs to be used for DPC memberships. This legal argument was submitted as a formal comment to the Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor during the public comment period for the proposed rule for overhauling the use of HRAs across the country.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Trump administration and Congress to expand access to this affordable care model for all Americans.”
D4PCF filed its letter as a comment on the proposed rule “Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Other Account-Based Group Health Plans” (REG-136724-17).
In November of 2018, Gross testified to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that removing barriers to DPC membership would immediately achieve multibillion-dollar savings for patients and taxpayers.
Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation is the only 501(c)(3) public policy think tank governed exclusively by doctors standing up for the health and freedom of patients and physicians. The D4PCF mission is to preserve the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship, promote quality care, support affordable access to care for all Americans, and protect the patient’s personal health care decisions.