WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ECFC, the leading nonprofit organization promoting choice in benefit solutions, today submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. The hearing, “Lowering Costs and Expanding Access to Health Care through Consumer-Directed Health Plans” will examine trends in enrollment and demographics for health spending account holders and the benefits of consumer-directed health care. It will also examine policies designed to give more consumers access to tax-favored savings accounts, including Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
ECFC is dedicated to preserving and expanding employer-provided tax-advantaged benefit choices for working Americans, including account-based benefit plans which provide benefits in areas such as health care, child care, and commuting. ECFC submitted a Statement for the Record to the Subcommittee.
In the statement, ECFC cited the National Center for Health Statistics’ report, that states many employers are moving toward higher deductible health plans or plans that increase the cost sharing amounts borne by employees. Consequently, ECFC stated, "consumer-directed benefit arrangements, such as FSAs, HRAs and HSAs, are of increasing importance to American workers."
Legislation Needed to Expand Consumer-Directed health Plans
In the statement, ECFC stated, "Today, health care is the main burden on family budgets and can cripple their ability to remain independent and productive members of the workforce and their communities. ECFC membership believes that HSAs and FSAs should be expanded in the market place to provide families and individuals with the ability to manage their health costs and decrease the financial burden that results from an unexpected and expected health care crisis."
Legislation supported by ECFC includes:
- H.R. 5138, the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act introduced by Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and co-authored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) with Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Ron Kind (D-WI), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) as co-sponsors. This bill makes changes to the rules surrounding HSAs and FSAs that we believe will make HSAs and FSAs more widely available. ECFC supports the intent of this bill and looks forward to working with the authors of this bill to make sure that its changes can be readily administered by plan sponsors and administrators.
- H.R. 1175, the Health Savings Act introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen with Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) as co-sponsors. ECFC supports this bill, which will address many of the issues surrounding HSAs that inhibit the growth of HSAs.
- H.R. 1204, the Responsible Additions and Increases to Sustain Employee Health Benefits Act of 2017 introduced by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) with 38 co-sponsors. This bill would increase the annual limit on employee salary reduction contributions to $5,000, with an additional $500 for each additional employee (as adjusted for inflation after 2017) and allow a carryforward into the next year for unused amounts. ECFC supports this bill since it recognizes that FSAs provide an important tax-efficient means for employees (especially low and middle-income employees) to budget for their health care expenses and provides for an expansion of opportunities for employees to use an FSA to budget for payment of their health care expenses.
ECFC is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and expanding employee benefit programs on a tax-advantaged basis. ECFC represents and promotes employee benefit programs through effective lobbying and provides education and awareness to members, compensation practitioners, national opinion leaders and the general public to help advance healthcare consumerism. ECFC, which was founded in 1981 as the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation, is the single organization that focuses its efforts on preserving, protecting and defending the tax-advantaged programs currently available to working families through employer plan sponsors.