Tuesday, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act. Backed by the National Institutes of Health, the main focus of this legislation provides $4.8 billion for Alzheimer’s research and $500 million to help the FDA speed up the process for approving new drugs and medical devices. Another high profile provision gives $1 billion in state grants to fight opioid abuse.
Here’s the surprise.
Buried in the Cures Act is Section 18001, which creates a new hybrid HRA called a “Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement”, designed specifically to allow a small business to help employees (<50) pay for individual health insurance premiums – and certain other unreimbursed medical expenses – up to $4,950/year ($10,000 for family coverage).
This is a reversal of previous IRS guidelines which required HRAs be tied to an underlying group medical plan.
Speaking of “reversal,” Monday I had the privilege of meeting with Paul Ryan at his office in Janesville to learn more about the new administration’s plans for health care.
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! (Happy to share what I heard, if you’re interested.)