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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Fox News Obtains a Copy of the Baucus Health Reform Bill

fox news obtains health reform billFor anyone who is interested, Major Garret (Contributing Editor, Fox News) posted a copy of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus's proposed health care reform bill.

View a full copy of the bill here.  
Below, I have excerpted the part of the bill that is pertinent to HRAs, FSAs and HSAs.

"17

FRAUD, WASTE, AND ABUSE

Fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid would be reduced by a series of provisions to prevent and deter wasteful or fraudulent activity as well as assist in the identification and prosecution of such activity once it has occurred. These policies include: a new enrollment process for providers and suppliers, including an application fee; data matching and data sharing across federal health care programs; increased civil monetary penalties; increased authority to suspend payment during creditable investigations of fraud; and new procedures to disclose and repay overpayments.

REVENUE PROVISIONS

High Cost Insurance Excise Tax. An excise tax of 35% would be levied on insurance companies and insurance administrators for any health insurance plan that is above $8,000 for singles and $21,000 for family plans. The tax would apply to self-insured plans and plans sold in the group market, but not to plans sold in the individual market. The tax would apply to the amount of the premium in excess of the threshold. The threshold would be indexed for inflation, and a transition rule would raise the threshold by 20%, 10%, and 5% for the 17 highest cost states for the first three years.

Increasing Transparency in Employer W-2 Reporting of Value of Health Benefits. The proposal would require employers to disclose the value of the benefit provided by the employer for each employee¡¦s health insurance coverage on the employee¡¦s annual Form W-2.

Limit Health Flexible Savings Account Contributions. Contributions to health Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) would be limited to $2,000 per year under this proposal.

Eliminate Exclusion for Employer Part D Subsidy. The proposal would eliminate the exclusion from gross income for the subsidy for employers who maintain prescription drug plans for their Medicare Part D eligible retirees.

Standardize the Definition of Qualified Medical Expenses. The definition of qualified medical expenses for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) would be conformed to the definition used for the itemized deduction. An exception to this rule would be included so that amounts paid for over-the-counter medicine with a prescription still qualify as medical expenses.

Increase the Penalty for Use of Health Savings Account Funds for Non-qualified Medical Expenses. This proposal would increase the additional tax for Health Savings Account (HSA) withdrawals prior to age 65 that are not used for qualified medical expenses from 10% to 20%. "
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