U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) introduced H.R. 2688, the “Providing Accountability & Transparency to Incentivize Economically Necessary Transitions in Health Care” Act (PATIENT Health Care Act) today. This plan encourages healthy competition among providers and manufacturers to help lower the cost of health insurance. It provides individuals with more options to save for personal health expenditures, and the cost of purchasing health insurance. The PATIENT Health Care Act also gives people with pre-existing conditions access to health care.
“My plan sets the foundation for developing a transparent, consumer-driven health care marketplace that encourages high-quality health care services and products at the lowest possible price,” said Ross.
“People should have more say over what benefits are included in their health insurance plan. They shouldn’t be forced to purchase unnecessary coverage, one of the many reasons why the cost of health insurance is so high. By expanding the use of Health Savings Accounts, we can make it more affordable for people to plan for the future health expenses of themselves and their children, whether or not they have a job or a perfect slate of health. Everyone should have the option to keep the health coverage they have wherever they go.
“By increasing the incentives to use individual Health Savings Accounts and allowing consumers to purchase their own health insurance based on their needs – not government mandates – we can move toward solutions that are patient-centered and benefit all Americans.”
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
- Currently, Health Savings Accounts allow individuals to contribute tax-exempt funds for future health care needs under High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP). Under the PATIENT Health Care Act these accounts are not necessarily tied to a job/employer.
- The PATIENT Health Care Act increases the amount of tax-exempt dollars one can contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) to a maximum of $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a family.
- The PATIENT Health Care Act repeals the ban on purchasing over-the-counter medications using HSA dollars.
- Currently, Medicare beneficiaries cannot continue to save with an HSA. The PATIENT Health Care Act would allow Medicare beneficiaries to:
- Continue contributing to an already existing HSA upon reaching Medicare eligibility, OR
- Have the option of choosing a Medicare plan that includes a Health Savings Account component, OR
- Take advantage of a one-time, tax-free transfer of funds from an HSA into a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MMSA) upon reaching Medicare eligibility, OR
- Allowing current beneficiaries of an MMSA plan to begin contributing their own personal dollars to the account
- Much like a college savings account, The PATIENT Health Care Act allows parents to open and begin contributing tax-free dollars to an HSA for their child, continuing until the child reaches adulthood, when that account may be turned over to the child.
- This will ensure that young individuals do not forego health coverage because they cannot afford the premiums, thereby placing more healthy individuals in the overall insurance pool to help bring the overall cost of health insurance back down.
Purchasing Health Insurance Across State Lines
- The PATIENT Health Care Act creates a framework for portable health coverage; even if you lose your job, can still have health insurance.
Coverage for People with Pre-Existing Conditions
- The PATIENT Health Care Act will provide an avenue for temporary coverage for people with pre-existing conditions until the marketplace is stable enough to offer coverage to them at a fair price by re-authorizing the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) through 2016.