Executive Order Calls for Guidance on Expanding HDHPs, Medical Expenses, and Health FSA Carryovers

Wednesday July 3rd, 2019

On June 27, 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order that focused on improving price and quality transparency in American health care. This order includes requests to provide additional guidelines on high deductible health plans, carryovers on health flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and medical expenses.

The Treasury Department has been directed to issue guidance within 120 days allowing high deductible health plans (HDHPs) to cover medical care for individuals with chronic conditions before the deductible, allowing them to maintain their health status. This order also allows HDHPs to remain compatible with health savings accounts (HSAs). 

Within 180 days, the Treasury is to propose regulations on the potential treatment of expenses related to medical needs, such as health-care sharing ministries and direct primary care arrangements. 

In the same period of time, 180 days, the Treasury has been directed to issue guidance on an increase to the amount remaining in a health FSA that is allowed to be carried over to the next plan year. 

Under the order, the Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been directed to request commentary on a proposal that would require self-insured health plans and insurers to provide information about expected out of pocket costs to patients prior to receiving care. The timeline for this directive is 90 days. 

Within 180 days, HHS has been directed to increase access to claims data from taxpayer-funded health care programs and group health plans, providing details to innovators, researchers, and others. The claims data will be de-identified, ensuring patient security and privacy.

In the coming months, we can expect to see some additional guidelines to these important issues, including FSA carryovers, HDHPs, and eligible medical expenses that could impact your organization’s benefit offerings.