Some Clarity On Proposed Healthcare Regulations

An executive order issued by President Trump on June 24, 2019 calls on several agencies to issue regulations and clarifications intended to improve price and quality transparency in health care.

The executive order does not change any laws or regulations, but plan sponsors may appreciate a heads up that changes along the lines addressed in the order may be coming before 2020. 

Key items addressed in the executive order: 

  • HDHPs:  Treasury Department is directed to issue guidance that would allow high deductible health plans (HDHPs) to retain Health Savings Account (HSA) compatibility while covering medical care to treat chronic health conditions before the deductible. 
  • Medical Expenses: Treasury is also directed to propose regulations to treat expenses related to certain arrangements, including direct primary care arrangements and health-care sharing ministries, as eligible medical expenses. 
  • Carryovers:  Treasury is to issue guidance to increase the amount that can be carried over after year-end under health FSAs. 
  • Cost Transparency:  Treasury, HHS, and the DOL are to request comments on a proposal that would require insurers and self-insured health plans to make available information about expected out-of-pocket costs to patients before they receive care.  HHS is also directed to increase access to de-identified claims data from group health plans (including tax-payer funded health programs) for researchers, innovators, and others, in a manner that insures patient privacy and security. 

The order addresses previous requests made by plan sponsors and administrators for clarification on some of these topics, and the transparency proposals build on similar provisions included in the Affordable Care Act. 

Vita will provide additional information as these agencies issue the requested guidance and regulations.