The U.S. House of Representatives has passed two bills that enhance – and seek to expand the use of health savings accounts.
Perhaps more significantly, the bills – H.R. 6199 (115) and H.R. 6311 (115) – passed with some crossover support from Democrats.
Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018
HR 6199, the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018, passed 277-142 with the backing of 46 Democrats (and the opposition of a single Republican, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina). The bill would allow people with health savings accounts to count gym memberships, the purchase of certain sports equipment and certain over-the-counter medications as qualified medical expenses (up to a limit of $500 a year for an individual and $1,000 a year for a joint return). It would also give spouses more opportunity to contribute to their partner’s HSA (in situations where the spouse has a flexible spending account).
H.R. 6199 was introduced on June 22, 2018, by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and was referred to the Committee on Ways & Means, which ordered the bill reported on July 11, 2018, by a vote of 24-10.
Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018
As for HR 6311, the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018, that bill passed by a margin of 242-176, gaining the support of a dozen Democrats.
H.R. 6311 was introduced on July 6, 2018, by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and was referred to the Committee on Ways & Means, which ordered the bill reported on July 11, 2018, by a vote of 23-16.
The bill would:
- Increase the maximum contribution to health savings accounts (to the amount of deductible and out-of-pocket limitation – $6,650 for an individual and $13,300 for a family in 2018).
- Allow both spouses to make catch-up contributions to the same health savings account. Under current law, if both spouses are HSA-eligible and age 55 or older, they must open separate HSA accounts for their respective “catch-up” contributions (an extra $1,000 annually). This provision would allow both spouses to deposit their catch-up contributions into one account.
- Allow working seniors to contribute to HSAs.
- Allow balances on flexible savings accounts to be carried over.
It would also delay the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax for another two years.