American Benefits Group (ABG) Navigating the Road to Consumer Directed Healthcare 2.0

CDHC COBRA Flexible Spending FSA Health Reimbursement Health Reimbursement Arrangements Health Savings HSA Transit and Parking Section 132

American Benefits Group (ABG) Navigating the Road to Consumer Directed Healthcare 2.0

The rapid adoption of consumer-directed health plans and accounts is a megatrend. In 2021 over 80 percent of U.S. employers offer a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a pre-tax consumer spending account or an HSA. According to Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the average industry-wide Health Savings Account (HSA) balance is about $2,100, while an average couple will require more than $285,000 in savings at retirement age to cover their likely out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Moreover, only 30 percent of health savings account holders fall in the ‘saver’ category, carrying account balances from year to year. These statistics highlight the need for better education, tools, and resources to help consumers better manage the financial responsibility for their current and future healthcare costs.

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Biden’s COBRA Subsidy Proposal and What It Means for You

CDHC COBRA Compliance and Regulatory

Senators Introduce COBRA Relief Bill

On Feb. 7, 2021, a group of Democratic senators introduced the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act, which would protect unemployed or furloughed workers from losing their health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would allow laid off workers to remain on their employer health plans, through the COBRA program, at no cost.

The legislation would also provide a 100 percent subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums owed by unemployed workers to ensure that they do not lose coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furloughed workers whose health benefits continue while pay is suspended would also have their employee contributions 100 percent subsidized. These subsidies would not impact workers' eligibility for unemployment benefits or other types of state or federal assistance.

In addition, the bill would extend the period during which workers could elect COBRA coverage, and enable workers to access coverage even if they declined it before the subsidy was made available, thereby ensuring continuity of care amid the health and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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