The departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury yesterday finalized a rule that beginning in January will allow employers to use health reimbursement arrangements to pay a portion of the premiums for individual market coverage for employees and their allowable dependents if the coverage complies with all individual market rules. The final rule includes the proposed safeguards to prevent employers from moving only their sicker, most-costly employees into the individual market, such as requiring them to offer all individuals within a certain class of employees the same coverage options, among other protections. The departments also finalized the proposal to permit employers that offer an HRA as supplementary coverage to allow employees to use the HRA to pay the premiums for a short-term limited duration health plan. The departments estimate that 11.4 million individuals will eventually receive individual market coverage with an HRA under the rule, and that the number of uninsured will decrease by 800,000. They issued the rule in response to a 2017 Executive Order on “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” AHA supported finalizing the rule so long as the departments also finalized the safeguard policies.

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