House Passes Small Business Healthcare Relief Act
The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (H.R. 5447) passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 21 with bipartisan support. The bill “would amend the Internal Revenue Code to define a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement as an arrangement where an employer pays directly for or reimburses medical expenses of an employee and his or her dependents.”
Under current law, employers who do not sponsor a group health plan but reimburse employees for their premiums for individual health coverage are violating the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and run the risk of liability for an excise tax of $100 per day per reimbursed employee (or $36,500 per employee per year).
The bill now awaits action in the Senate (as S. 3060), where it has been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. The bill’s current co-sponsors are: Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Corey Gardner (R-CO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jon Tester (D-MT), David Vitter (R-LA) and Mark Warner (D-VA).