U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) hopes to make health care more affordable for Americans by giving their employers better benefit options to offer them under improved Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
Rep. Kelly on March 1 introduced the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act, H.R. 5138, which would improve access to health care through updated HSAs, according to a summary provided by his office. The bill was co-authored by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and includes cosponsors U.S. Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
“With so many people increasingly choosing HSA plans, it is important that federal rules allow employers to provide the best benefits possible for their employees,” said Rep. Kelly. “By modernizing HSA policy, this bipartisan bill will promote flexibility, encourage innovation, and expand access to these cost-saving plans for many more Americans.”
An HSA is a type of savings account that allows a person to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. Using untaxed HSA dollars to pay for deductibles, copays and other expenses allows people to lower their health care costs, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Currently, more than 20 million Americans are enrolled in HSA-qualified plans, Kelly said, which puts them “in the driver’s seat of their health care, helping them save money and stay healthy.”
Among other provisions in the proposed bill, H.R. 5138 would allow HSA plans to offer HSA dollars that people could use for wellness benefits, including exercise; and to offer pre-deductible coverage for medication and services that help manage chronic conditions, and for health services provided at both onsite employee clinics or retail health clinics, according to the summary.
“By expanding access to affordable care, promoting wellness and strengthening innovation, this legislation will help Americans stay healthy while saving money,” Rep. Blumenauer said.
James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, said the organization strongly supports the bill. “Health savings accounts are popular and effective tools for employers striving to provide affordable coverage to working families,” he said.
H.R. 5138 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for its consideration.