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Ways and Means Expands Health Benefit Options, Increases Flexibilities for Small Business Workers

June 08, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – Workers and small businesses would get more flexibility and choice in their health insurance benefits under six bills adopted by the Ways and Means Committee. The legislation allows small businesses to reimburse employees for buying qualified health insurance, increases flexibility to better cover health care services for workers, and frees up small businesses to better serve their employees and customers.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) released the following statement after committee passage of these bills:

“At Ways and Means hearings across America, small business owners have shared that they cannot find workers to fill open positions. These bills will help small businesses attract and retain workers by giving them the option to provide more health benefit choices for their employees. As a result, American workers will get more options and relief from the exploding cost of health care due to Washington-driven inflation. Washington needs to cut the red tape that is blocking workers from making the best possible health care choices for their families.”

The CHOICE Arrangement Act

Introduced by Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-01), H.R. 3799 codifies a 2019 Trump Administration rule that allows employers to provide tax-advantaged funds to reimburse employees for buying their own health insurance on the individual market.

  • Combats labor shortage by allowing small businesses to provide more flexible health benefit options for employees.
  • Allows employers to better budget for expenses while forgoing the complex process of choosing and managing a health insurance plan.
  • Gives small businesses the freedom to focus on serving their customers and employees.
  • 87 percent of small businesses report wanting another way to help their employees get health insurance without offering a traditional group plan.
  • 80 percent of individuals would prefer a monthly contribution from their employer to purchase their own health plan.

READ: ONE PAGER: The CHOICE Arrangement Act

The Small Business Flexibility Act

Introduced by Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY-24), H.R. 3798 requires the Secretary of Treasury to notify small businesses of different coverage options available to them.

  • Small businesses currently have access to a variety of tax-advantaged health benefit policies.
  • 70 percent of small businesses do not know of the various flexible health insurance opportunities available to them.

READ: ONE PAGER – The Small Business Flexibility Act

The Chronic Disease Flexible Coverage Act

Introduced by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), H.R. 3800 allows employers to offer pre-deductible coverage of 14 chronic care health services for employees using a high-deductible health plan.

  • Lowers health care costs for families living with chronic health conditions.
  • Six in ten Americans live with at least one chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.
  • Allows for pre-deductible coverage of services like beta-blockers for patients with congestive heart failure, blood pressure monitors for patients with high blood pressure, glucometers for patients with diabetes, inhalers for patients with asthma, cholesterol drugs and testing for patients with heart disease.

READ: ONE PAGER – The Chronic Disease Flexible Coverage Act

The Telehealth Expansion Act of 2023

Introduced by Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-45), Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03), Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03), and Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10), H.R. 1843 permanently allows pre- deductible coverage of telehealth services for high-deductible health plan.

  • Lowers health care costs for families by expanding pre-deductible telehealth flexibilities for businesses that offer high-deductible health plans.
  • Makes it easier for Americans living in rural communities to talk to their doctor.
  • 76 percent of employers want Congress to make this benefit permanent.

READ: ONE PAGER – The Telehealth Expansion Act

The Paperwork Burden Reduction Act

Introduced by Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), H.R. 3797 allows employees to access certain health insurance coverage forms online.

  • Ends the requirement that employers continue to mail both forms 1095-B and 1095-C to employees to prove compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s no longer existent individual health care mandate
  • Codifies the Treasury rule allowing for 1095-B forms available to be requested online

READ: ONE PAGER – The Paperwork Burden Reduction Act

The Employer Reporting Improvement Act

Introduced by Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03) and Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04), H.R. 3801 provides employers with relief from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements.

  • Provides employees with flexibility with the personal information provided for employees, spouses, and children.
  • Provides employers with relief by extending the appeal window for a potential penalty to no sooner than 90 days to reduce burden on employers, especially small businesses with limited resources.
  • Reins in IRS bureaucrats’ ability to penalize American small businesses by implementing a six-year statute of limitations on assessing penalties.

READ: ONE PAGER – The Employer Reporting Improvement Act