The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a hearing on Wednesday on “Lowering Costs and Expanding Access to Health Care through Consumer-Directed Health Plans.” The hearing included a specific focus on the role of health savings accounts (HSAs) and improvements that can be made to the plans. In advance of the hearing, NAHU issued a press release urging Congress to support H.R. 5138, the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act, and sent a letter to the committee leadership in conjunction with the HSA Coalition.
The hearing included testimony from HSA Consulting Services Roy Ramthun, AHIP President Matt Eyles, WageWorks Chief Compliance Officer Jody Dietel, and New York University Graduate School of Public Service Dean Sherry Glied. The panel was generally supportive of the merits of HSAs, noting that they can be a useful tool to reduce costs as consumers can pay closer attention to costs when they have an HSA. There was also widespread support for numerous reforms to HSAs, including those that are proposed by the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act.
Some of the reforms that were discussed included raising the contribution limit in the belief that consumers should be able to cover their entire out-of-pocket risk, and that Congress should create parity between out-of-pocket maximums under the ACA and the contribution limits for HSAs. They also discussed current limitations on how HSA dollars can be used, particularly with regard to chronic care, chronic illness, and value-based design, as well as direct primary care.
NAHU is advocating for the committee to advance the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act through a markup in the coming weeks. Republican leadership have discussed moving another major tax-reform package that would include numerous changes to HSAs; it has been dubbed "Tax Reform 2.0" after the package enacted last December. They are seeking to move this tax package this fall but they may seek to attach the HSA changes to other legislative packages, such as a retirement bill.