Lawmakers reach tentative deal to expand small biz health options

Over the weekend, Congress introduced an end of the year health package containing mental health initiatives, Medicare provisions, medical research funding…AND one of TASC’s top priorities – the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (SBHRA). If enacted, the SBHRA would allow small businesses to once again use an HRA to assist employees with health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Brief summary:

  • Has an effective date of January 1, 2017.
  • Available to small employers (with fewer than 50 full-time employees) who do not offer a group health plan.
  • Participants must have minimum essential coverage in order to receive the benefit.
  • Employer annual contributions would be capped at $4,950 (employee) / $10,000 (family).
  • Generally, employers must make the same contributions to all eligible employees; amounts may vary based on family status (i.e. single vs family).
  • Would not disqualify participants from premium tax credits (i.e. marketplace subsidies); however, monthly HRA reimbursements will be included in income calculations for determining eligibility.

This 900 page, $6.3 billion negotiated deal is expected to be voted on by the House as early as Wednesday. The Senate is then expected to follow suit, taking up the measure sometime before final adjournment in December.

 

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