Legislation Introduced to Allow HSAs for Medicare Beneficiaries

On Wednesday, Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA) and Jason Smith (R-MO) introduced H.R. 3796, the Health Savings for Seniors Act, NAHU-supported legislation that would allow seniors covered under Medicare to continue contributing to HSAs after age 65. Specifically, the bill allows anyone enrolled in Medicare, either traditional fee for service or Medicare Advantage plans (including Medicare Advantage MSA) to open an HSA and fund it to the HSA individual maximum and allows those who already have an HSA to be able to fund their account after they enroll in Medicare. It also aligns rules for all HSAs with current beneficiaries, and allows working seniors to enroll in Medicare and still be HSA eligible, even if they have employer sponsored-coverage.

This bill follows efforts last year to enact legislation to similarly expand HSAs. House Republicans initially offered a package termed “Tax Cuts 2.0,” that would have expanded on the tax cuts enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Lawmakers sought to include several HSA-related provisions that NAHU continues to advocate, including provisions from H.R. 6311 that would allow both spouses to make catch-up contributions to the same HSA, allow working seniors eligible for Medicare Part A to contribute to HSAs and let balances on FSAs to be carried over each year. H.R. 6311 would have also allowed all individuals purchasing plans on the individual market to purchase a lower premium “copper plan,” as well as allowing “catastrophic” and “bronze” plans in the individual and small group markets to qualify for HSA contribution.

A separate bill, H.R. 6199 was passed by a 277-142 bipartisan vote and would have modernized HSAs by allowing some over-the-counter medicines to count as qualified medical expenses, increase flexibility for retail and onsite clinics, and allowing plans to provide coverage before the deductible is met. In addition, the legislation would also give spouses more opportunities to contribute to their partner’s HSA. Unfortunately, both of these bills were not ultimately enacted into law after failing to pass both chambers prior to the end of the congressional session.

Source: National Associate of Health Underwriters (NAHU)