Alexander Acosta, Steven Mnuchin, and Alex Azar, respectively Secretaries of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, are in the process of offering one. They’re putting together a rule that would expand HRAs, Health Reimbursement Arrangements. These are plans that allow employers to reimburse employees for certain qualified health expenses. Their expansion consists of two parts:
- permit[ting] employers to offer HRAs to reimburse employees for health insurance purchased in the individual market—allowing employers to provide a contribution as significant as they would have made for the premiums of a traditional employer-sponsored plan.
- allow[ing] employers that offer a traditional group plan to offer an HRA of up to $1,800 a year to reimburse an employee for certain qualified medical expenses such as stand-alone dental benefits.
Both of these parts would be done on an income tax-free basis for the employee.
Of course, this would compete against Obamacare, and that’s anathema for the Progressive-Democrats in the House and Senate.
Their ire notwithstanding, the rule would be that step toward competition, and competition is one of the ways of making health care and health care coverage less economically onerous to a family.