DataPath, Inc. company representatives were in Washington, D.C. March 8-10 to attend the 36th ECFC Annual Meeting. As an active member in the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), and with DataPath President and CEO John Robbins, Jr. serving on the ECFC Board of Directors, DataPath is very interested in how recent legislative and regulatory changes affect TPAs, employers, and workers alike.
Conference attendees participated in in-depth informative sessions on many of the key healthcare issues facing American businesses today. One area of significant interest was the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA), which had just been introduced in the House.
Visiting Capitol Hill
On the second day of the conference, attendees formed into groups and conducted personal visits with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The visits gave ECFC participants the opportunity to express their stances on legislative issues that affect employee benefits, associated tax regulations, and Americans’ ability to access and afford healthcare. The two groups including DataPath representatives met with Congressional members and their staffs in the offices of Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ed Markey (D-MA), as well as Representatives French Hill (R-AR), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), and others.
DataPath, an industry-leader in employer-sponsored benefits administration software, supports the following changes proposed in the AHCA:
- Removal of contribution limits for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
- Raising the contribution limits on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
- Delay or repeal of the Excise Tax, also known as the Cadillac Tax; pending repeal, carve-outs for employee contributions to FSAs and HSAs
- Permitting over-the-counter medications to become eligible medical expenses
If Congress approves raising and/or removing limits on FSAs and HSAs, account holders will have the opportunity to save more on their federal taxes, which in turn can help them save money on healthcare expenses. FSAs and HSAs are integral to consumer-directed healthcare (CDH), which provides better choice for individuals regarding personal healthcare decisions. The issues surrounding FSAs and HSAs impact middle class families the hardest.
The Cadillac Tax, a 40 percent penalty on health plans exceeding $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for a family, negatively affects businesses and people who have an FSA or HSA. Contributions to the CDH accounts, which are elected by the individual, could push amounts over the excise tax thresholds which could result in employers limiting or eliminating employees’ ability to participate. A survey by the American Health Policy Institute found that nearly 19 percent of large employers were limiting or eliminating employee contributions to FSAs, and almost 13 percent were doing the same for HSA account holders in order to avoid triggering the tax.
Prior to the enactment of ACA, over-the-counter medications were eligible medical expenses. DataPath supports re-establishing these expenses as qualified medical expenses in order to help reduce the cost of personal healthcare.
The three day conference was productive for DataPath and other ECFC members. DataPath thanks the Congressional leaders for their time and willingness to listen to our representatives.
ECFC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advocacy, education, advancement, and innovation of tax-advantaged benefit programs that facilitate choice for employers and their employees. We believe such programs empower employees to take control of their healthcare dollars and help employers to provide a positive benefits package and workplace environment. Learn more about ECFC.