Regulatory roundup

More healthcare-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.

House panel advances health bills
The House Ways and Means Committee approved seven healthcare bills recently, including the following that would apply to employer-sponsored plans:

• H.R.5445 (the “Health Care Security Act”), which would increase the annual contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs), allow for catch-up contributions by both spouses to a single account, and permit the payment of expenses incurred 60 days before an account is established.
• H.R.5447 (the “Small Business Health Care Relief Act”), which would permit qualified small employers that do not offer a group health plan to reimburse up to $5,130 annually/employee ($10,260/family) for the cost of buying health insurance.
• H.R.210 (the “Student Worker Exemption Act”), which would exclude full-time students who are employed by an institution of higher education from being counted as full-time employees in calculating the institution’s shared responsibility coverage requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
• H.R.3080 (the “Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act”), which would eliminate the ACA’s employer mandate for businesses owned by Indian tribes.

House panel approves mental health bill with group health plan implications
The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 53-0 to approve a substitute mental health bill (H.R.2646) called the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.” The full House is not expected to act on the measure until sometime in September.

The bill generally calls for improving oversight of certain mental health and substance abuse programs. There are, however, some provisions that affect employer-sponsored plans, including a directive for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury to coordinate and issue a “compliance program guidance” document relating to mental health parity that provides examples/illustrations of informative disclosures and nonquantitative treatment limitations, as well as descriptions of the violations uncovered during the course of compliance investigations.

In addition, if a group health plan or group insurance provides coverage for eating disorder benefits, then the plan/insurance, under the bill, must provide such benefits consistent with the mental health/substance use disorder benefits parity requirements.

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