CAHC Lauds Final Rule Expanding HRAs

Rule caps off years-long advocacy effort from CAHC that included leading the successful fight to overturn past IRS policy penalizing HRA plans 

WASHINGTON, DC  (June 13, 2019): The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC)  – a coalition of employers, insurers, life science companies, PBMs, brokers, agents, patient groups, and physician organizations – cheered today's final rule issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury to expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

The regulation would effectively extend the tax-preferred treatment of traditional employer group insurance to HRA reimbursements of individual market insurance premiums, expanding workers' choices in coverage options and allowing up to 11 million employees to benefit from HRAs once fully implemented, per Treasury Department estimates

CAHC was an early supporter of the proposed rule issued last year, commending the Departments in written comments for their "work to expand HRA availability and utilization." 

"While CAHC continues to review the final rule in detail, this regulation appears to be a win for employers, workers, and their families alike,"  said CAHC President Joel White. "By loosening the reins on HRAs and allowing these savings tools to deliver greater benefit to more people, the rule injects choice and competition into a market where it is desperately lacking - all while maintaining needed guardrails to protect those with preexisting conditions and lowering the overall uninsured rate." 

"Specifically, CAHC supports the rule's protections allowing for the purchase of an off-exchange plan with an individual coverage HRA," 
continued White. "CAHC members have long fought to tackle unfair ACA exchange monopolies and allow more consumers to shop off-exchange for coverage that best suits their needs. This is a hard-fought win for our advocacy efforts and, more importantly, for the American workers who will benefit from this greater flexibility." 

As longtime proponents of HRAs as a means of expanding affordable health care options for workers, CAHC previously led the successful fight to include language in the 21st Century Cures law (Section 18001) overturning a sorely misguided 2014 IRS rule that would have levied fines of up to $500,000 per employer on small businesses offering HRA plans. 

CAHC President Joel White will attend a White House Rose Garden event celebrating the final rule tomorrow alongside Jack Hooper, the CEO and Co-Founder of Take Command Health - a leader in Qualified Small Employer HRA (QSEHRA) administration.