Last month in this space, I reviewed a series of market projections for 2014 from Harvard University as well as the industry’s leading associations.
Healthcare Reform: Key Questions and Answers
During the interviews for this article, we found that there were several areas that were unclear to many remodelers. Here are the answers to some of their key questions.
Q: When the new health exchanges come online in 2014, will high-deductible health insurance policies and their accompanying health savings accounts be eliminated?
A: Under the law, if you like the coverage you have today, you can keep it, according to Health and Human Services spokesperson Jessica Santillo. “Insurers and employers may continue to offer high-deductible insurance policies with HSAs provided that they meet some key insurance market reforms to existing plans,” Santillo said in an email. “For example, in regards to existing plans, the law generally prohibits lifetime limits on coverage and rescission of policies and extends coverage for those up to age 26 if they offer dependent coverage. These changes could impact high deductible plans.”
We think this means that high-deductible health insurance policies won’t be eliminated, at least not by the Feds. The question we can’t answer is whether the insurers will continue to offer these plans.
Q: The tax credit for small businesses that pay for health insurance for their employees doesn’t apply to coverage for the owners and their families. Will the policies sold through the new health exchanges be available to small business owners and their families as well as their employees?
A: Yes, Santillo says. “Small business owners may purchase health insurance through a small business exchange for themselves, their families and their employees. But they can’t count themselves and family members as eligible employees for a tax credit.
Q: Is the new $2,500 limit on contributions to flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) per employee or per covered individual?
A: It’s per employee and is unaffected by the number of family members, according to Bruce I. Friedland at the Internal Revenue Service. If a husband and wife each worked for an employer with an FSA, they could each make a $2,500 contribution. This provision goes into effect starting in 2013.
Q: Is the 1099 reporting requirement that is scheduled to go into effect in 2012 for all businesses, or just those that have to offer health insurance?
A: It’s all businesses, according to the NAHB and the National Federation of Independent Business. There’s a big push, however, to get this provision repealed before it goes into effect in 2012.