Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced the Health Savings for Families Act. The bipartisan bill would give families the flexibility to utilize the tax advantages of both a Health Savings Account (HSA) and a health Flexible Spending Account (FSA)--helping them save money on health care.
“Cost of care is at a record high and my bill will give families more flexibility to save money on their health care,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “Instead of penalizing families for responsibly managing their money--as the existing law does--my bill allows couples to save and spend in the way that’s easiest and most affordable for them. This is why I came to Congress--to deliver bipartisan solutions that will make a positive difference for my constituents.”
“Americans should be empowered to make decisions that are best for their families, and they need more tools to make health care more accessible and affordable. This bill does that by removing barriers to investments in Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts for married couples. Thank you to Representatives Blumenauer and Wexton for working with me to help patients stay healthy and save money!” said Congressman Mike Kelly.
“As families continue to struggle with the cost of health care, we need to ensure that they can afford the care they need,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “This bill would fix a flaw and ensure that families are not penalized for investing in their care. Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care--period.”
It is becoming more common for working spouses to be covered under two different health care plans, and more employers are restricting spousal coverage if the spouse has access to insurance through their own employer. Families are turning to more flexible options that allow them to save on their health care costs, such as employer-provided health FSAs or by contributing to an HSA.
Under current law, for couples on two different health care plans, when one spouse utilizes a health FSA and the other spouse pays into an HSA, families could be subject to a tax penalty. Wexton’s bill would eliminate that tax penalty, allowing families to set aside up to $7,000, on a pre-tax basis, to an HSA to help pay for qualified medical expenses ($7,000 is the maximum contribution a family can make to an HSA in 2019).
The Health Savings for Families Act would allow one spouse to make HSA contributions if their spouse has a health FSA, as long as that health FSA does not reimburse the expenses of the spouse paying into the HSA.
An HSA is a type of savings account that allows an individual to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to cover qualified medical expenses. These accounts help those with high-deductible health plans save money to afford their health care expenses. A health FSA is a pre-tax benefit account provided by an individual’s employer that is similarly used to pay eligible health care expenses.
The cost of family health coverage is at a record high, forcing many onto plans that cover less or cost more, according to an annual survey of employers conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The increasing costs of premiums and deductibles have caused the percentage of American workers covered to fall over the past two decades.
Reducing the cost of health care has been a top priority for Congresswoman Wexton since coming to Congress. Wexton voted for the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act of 2019, which passed the House with bipartisan support in May. Wexton also sponsored two successful amendments to the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act: one to call attention to the dangers of junk insurance plans on children with complex medical needs, and another to require a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on how funding cuts to marketing and outreach efforts for the Affordable Care Act have impacted enrollment and cost of care on the individual market.