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house Bill H.R. 6199

Expanding Health Savings Accounts to Cover Over-the-Counter Drugs, Menstrual Products & More Healthcare Expenses

Argument in favor

This bipartisan bill would empower Americans by expanding Health Savings Accounts to cover more healthcare expenses, like over-the-counter drugs, and letting them be paired with consumer-directed insurance coverage.

Rdebrigard's Opinion
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07/25/2018
Make sure it covers birth control pills as well. Best way to reduce abortions is to give women inexpensive means to avoid unwanted pregnancies!
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Brian's Opinion
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07/22/2018
This bipartisan bill would empower Americans by expanding Health Savings Accounts to cover more healthcare expenses, like over-the-counter drugs, and letting them be paired with consumer-directed insurance coverage.
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Martha's Opinion
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07/23/2018
Since the money in these accounts is the individual's money they should have the right to buy over the counter drugs and other medically related products.
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Argument opposed

This bill is really just a tax break for people who have Health Savings Accounts, which typically only wealthy Americans have. Congress should focus on undoing the damage it’s done to Obamacare.

carole.morain's Opinion
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07/22/2018
Again, I say, the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obama care, should be left intact and expanded upon in a reasonable manner. There is NOTHING this administration has done in a reasonable manner.
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Linda's Opinion
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07/25/2018
Middle and low income people cannot afford any type of savings account. What we really need is health insurance that pays well with reasonable premiums. We need insurance that pays 95% of charges.
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ToddSheets's Opinion
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07/25/2018
Universal Healthcare is the solution. Low income people and families can’t even afford an actual savings account much less a health savings account. Rich lawmakers don’t know this because they have money and they have healthcare, for life. The least you could do is provide healthcare for the constituents who pay your salary and everything else you have. You are public servants. Serve the public.
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What is House Bill H.R. 6199?

This bill — the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act — would overhaul health savings accounts (HSAs) to make them more useful for covering healthcare costs related to medication and other expenses that contribute to an individual’s health. It contains the legislative text of five related bills that passed the House Ways and Means Committee with bipartisan support, summaries of which can be found below.

Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2018: This section of the bill would repeal a provision of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) that limits payments for medications from HSAs, medical savings accounts (MSAs), flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to only prescription drugs. In effect, this would allow funds from such accounts to be used for over-the-counter drugs, and also menstrual care products.

Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act: This section of the bill would make three changes to HSAs: 1) it’d clarify that employment-related services (like on-site clinics) wouldn’t be considered disqualifying coverage under HSAs; 2) eligible individuals could make HSA contributions if a spouse has a flexible spending account (FSA) as long as the FSA doesn’t reimburse expenses of the spouse with the HSA; and 3) FSAs and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) could be terminated or converted to fund HSAs.

Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act: This section of the bill would allow individuals to pay for a gym membership, exercise classes, or related equipment for themselves or their dependants using funds from a tax-preferred health savings account (HSA) or flexible spend account (FSA).

The overall limitation on such tax-preferred expenses would be $500 annually (or twice that for a joint return or head of household), while the limit for safety equipment would be $250 annually. These amounts would be adjusted for inflation and rounded to the nearest $10 each year. This legislation would take effect for tax years beginning after December 31, 2018.

Golfing, hunting, sailing, and riding wouldn’t be considered qualified physical activities. Memberships at facilities offering those activities, or at private clubs owned and operated by members, wouldn’t be qualified. Exercise videos, books, or similar materials wouldn’t be considered qualified exercise equipment.

Primary Care Enhancement Act: This section of the bill would prevent individuals who participate in a direct primary care (DPC) arrangement from losing their HSA eligibility because of their participation. It’d also allow funds from HSAs to be used for DPC provider fees.

Promoting High-Value Health Care Through Flexibility for High Deductible Health Plans Act: This section of the bill would expand access and enhance the utility of HSAs by allowing plans to cover for high value, low-cost services like telehealth, chronic disease management, diabetic testing strips, or primary care visits below the deductible while maintaining their HSA eligibility.

Impact

Individuals with HSAs and similar tax-preferred accounts; healthcare providers; pharmacies; and the IRS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6199

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthThe Restoring Access to Medication Act passed the committee on a 24-10 vote with the support of three bipartisan cosponsors, including Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), and Ron Kind (D-WI). Sponsoring Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) said:

“Over-the counter medications are often the front-line treatment for many illnesses or for maintenance of chronic diseases and should be treated as medically-reimbursable health care therapies just as prescription medications are.”

Some House Democrats opposed the bill, writing:

“While the inclusion of menstrual care products addresses an unfair bias against women in the current tax code, the fact that the legislation is unpaid for is a cause for concern and in no way addresses the broader discrimination women are facing in accessing health care under the Republican administration.”

The Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act passed the committee on a 26-13 vote with the support of one cosponsor, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). Sponsoring Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) said: “Ultimately, this bill modernizes health care delivery and gives employers freedom to innovate and improve their employees’ health.” Some Democrats opposed the bill, writing that “HSAs mostly benefit high-income taxpayers while doing little to help moderate-income families or the uninsured.”

The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act passed the committee on a 28-7 vote with the support of two bipartisan cosponsors. Sponsoring Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) said it “will help our children get active by allowing people to use tax preferred accounts to cover the cost of their children’s sports programs” among other exercise-related expenses. Some House Democrats expressed opposition to the bill, saying it’d “allow and HSA or FSA to be used for services that might never be used or might not directly improve an individual’s health.”

The Primary Care Enhancement Act passed the committee on a 26-12 vote with the support of two bipartisan cosponsors. Sponsoring Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) explained that it’d improve direct primary care arrangements, where “instead of paying a doctor a fee every time you need a procedure, you’ll pay a monthly subscription and hire a doctor you’re going to keep to keep you well.” Some Democrats expressed opposition to the bill, writing that it “does not undo sabotage, premium hikes, and benefit cuts have caused over the past 18 months.”

The Promoting High-Value Health Care Through Flexibility for High Deductible Plans Act passed the committee on a 24-14 vote with the support of two bipartisan cosponsors. Its sponsor Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) said that “by providing these options, consumers are incentivized to take control of their health and use services to reduce costs down the line.” It was opposed by some Democrats, who wrote that “High Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts do not promote healthy behavior.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock / Steve Debenport)

AKA

Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018

Official Title

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include certain over-the-counter medical products as qualified medical expenses.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed July 25th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 277 Yea / 142 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedJune 22nd, 2018

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    Make sure it covers birth control pills as well. Best way to reduce abortions is to give women inexpensive means to avoid unwanted pregnancies!
    Like (84)
    Follow
    Share
    Again, I say, the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obama care, should be left intact and expanded upon in a reasonable manner. There is NOTHING this administration has done in a reasonable manner.
    Like (80)
    Follow
    Share
    Middle and low income people cannot afford any type of savings account. What we really need is health insurance that pays well with reasonable premiums. We need insurance that pays 95% of charges.
    Like (54)
    Follow
    Share
    Universal Healthcare is the solution. Low income people and families can’t even afford an actual savings account much less a health savings account. Rich lawmakers don’t know this because they have money and they have healthcare, for life. The least you could do is provide healthcare for the constituents who pay your salary and everything else you have. You are public servants. Serve the public.
    Like (42)
    Follow
    Share
    This bipartisan bill would empower Americans by expanding Health Savings Accounts to cover more healthcare expenses, like over-the-counter drugs, and letting them be paired with consumer-directed insurance coverage.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Since the money in these accounts is the individual's money they should have the right to buy over the counter drugs and other medically related products.
    Like (22)
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    The more control the American people have in their lives the better.
    Like (18)
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    Well, I can tell you, I have an HSA and I am not wealthy, so this could be beneficial. I work for an out of state school in one of the highest cost of living cities in the country, so if this expands my ability to access medicine and do it with pre-tax money, I'm in.
    Like (10)
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    Considering the costs for personal hygiene for women, I do believe I will support this cause with my government dollars.
    Like (9)
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    Save Obamacare and trend toward single-payer. Do something for people whom need some help.
    Like (7)
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    Yes but don’t stop here. This is a bandaid. Our health care system needs way more work than just this.
    Like (7)
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    All of these things are necessary for healthy lifestyles, regardless of your political stance.
    Like (7)
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    It’s unconscionable how this Congress led by the GOP is just attacking attacking attacking the base people in this country to give to the wealthy it’s stealing from the poor giving to the rich and it’s deplorable. And I am not one to actually even use the health care I have another way of doing this but I do have compassion for my fellow man and this Geo be a leader ship seems not to
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    Is it health-related? Then why shouldn’t it be covered?
    Like (6)
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    People need to be responsible for their own health care and how they choose to spend their money. The federal government has no constitutional business to insert it self in our healthcare.
    Like (5)
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    Another boon for the wealthy Americans. The Middle Class, Working Class, and the Poor are left outside that all inclusive bubble. The representatives, both Republicans and Democrats, need to focus on enforcing the healthcare needs of your constituents, not the elite! Fight for 100% coverage of preexisting conditions without penalty of high premiums. Fight for basic and preventative care for all Americans. This includes yearly mammograms, pap testing and colonoscopy’s (for those over 50 yrs old), baby wellness check ups and vaccinations. Fight for keeping the costs of healthcare affordable for ALL Americans. That’s where you need to focus. As for the constituents, we all need to be active in voting and in voicing your concerns to your representatives. #voteyourvoice
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    Health Savings Accounts should also roll over each year.
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    Single Payer now. No more half-measures or compromises.
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    This is a No-Brainer, low hanging fruit, common sense.
    Like (4)
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    These should be covered thru insurance not be self insured.
    Like (4)
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