In October 2018, the U.S. Departments of the Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Labor issued a proposed regulation that would expand the usability of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). The proposed regulation was the final in a series of proposed rules in response to President Trump’s October 2017 Executive Order on “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition”. The Treasury Department estimates that 800,000 employers would take advantage of this change, empowering approximately 10 million American workers to have more consumer-driven healthcare choices.
The regulation, if finalized, will affect plans beginning January 1, 2020. The proposed regulation would allow employees to use HRAs to purchase individual coverage on a pre-tax basis. This gives an individual the same tax-preferred advantage as the business, while allowing them additional choices beyond the typical single health plan offering of the employer. In addition, the regulation would also allow employers offering traditional employer-sponsored coverage to offer an HRA of up to $1,800 per year to reimburse an employee for certain qualified medical expenses, including certain health plans.
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