Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., has introduced a bill in the House that, if passed, will allow individuals to decide how they want their health care funds to be spent, without the influence of the government or health insurance providers.
Health Savings Accounts have become more and more popular since their creation in 2003. About 17 million accounts hold more than $30 billion in savings now.
They can be simpler and more user-friendly, and that’s what the Health Savings Expansion Act would do, according to Rep. Brat. The Health Savings Account Expansion Act would do even more to empower individuals and spur innovation.
Health Savings Account Expansion Act introduced by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) proposes four positive reforms:
- Increases contribution limits for single/joint filers to $9,000/$18,000 per year,
- Repeals ACA restrictions on over-the-counter purchases and the increased penalty on ineligible withdrawals,
- Allows HSA funds to pay premiums and direct primary care expenses, and
- Streamlines regulatory requirements including by eliminating the high deductible health plan mandate.
As Rep. Brat explains, “I want to expand options for American workers and families to get them the best health coverage and care that is tailored for their specific needs. This bill helps do that by equalizing the tax treatment for health insurance and care between different ways of paying for it.”
“This approach has important benefits for my constituents:
First, it will save American families money as the health care industry adapts to consumers spending more money directly.
Second, it will create space for innovation in insurance markets vs. Health underwriters, of course, will be vital to figuring this out.
Third, it’ll unleash innovation.
Instead of having to get coverage approved from the government, an employer, or an insurance company, people will be able to use their HSA funds for the product or service that they want. They’ll be able to try new treatments or products without having to get permission.”
Empowered consumers are likely to push for further reforms when they have a direct, controllable stake in the cost and quality of their health care.