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Health initiative linked to business benefits

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued a new policy that will provide hundreds of thousands of employers, including small businesses, a better way to provide health insurance coverage, and millions of American workers more options for health insurance coverage, the federal government said.

When employers have fully adjusted to the rule, it is estimated this expansion of health reimbursement arrangements will benefit approximately 800,000 employers, including small businesses, and more than 11 million employees and family members, including an estimated 800,000 Americans who were previously uninsured.

Starting in January 2020, employers will be able to use individual coverage HRAs to provide their workers with tax-preferred funds to pay for the cost of health insurance coverage that workers purchase in the individual market, subject to certain conditions, the government said.

Many businesses have struggled with the high costs and complex bureaucracy of providing health insurance coverage, leading to less coverage for workers, the government said.

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