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The National Restaurant Association today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan “Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012” (H.R. 436), which will lower the cost of health insurance for employers and return some flexibility to the use of Health Spending Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) for restaurant employees and consumers.
“On behalf of the nation’s nearly one million restaurants, who employ nearly 13 million Americans, and the millions of guests we serve each day, the National Restaurant Association appreciates the continued efforts of members of Congress to address the affordability of health care coverage through this legislation,” says Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the Association.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Congress in creating an affordable and reasonable health care system by addressing other health and tax related provisions driving up the cost of health care coverage.”
The legislation would repeal the prohibition on the use of FSAs, HSAs, and HRAs funds to purchase over-the-counter medications. Restaurateurs have long supported efforts to improve the utilization and flexibility of these consumer-directed health products, and provisions contained in the 2010 health care law limited their use and increased health care costs through increased doctors’ visits.
The bill also changes the “use it or lose it” rule for FSAs and would allow employees to cash out up to $500 of unused funds set aside for medical expenses. This would eliminate the unnecessary loss of funds, while any cashed out funds would be considered income and wages for tax purposes.
The Association sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives this week in advance of today’s floor vote. Read the letter here.