House panel clears bills to end ACA tax, expand HSA use to gym memberships

The House Rules Committee voted July 23 to advance three bills that could affect the ACA's medical device tax and make health savings accounts more flexible, allowing patients to use the funds for menstrual care products and fitness expenses. 

Here is what the panel is voted on:

1. One bill, H.R. 184, would eliminate the ACA's medical device tax. This 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers and importers would end Dec. 31, 2019. 

2. H.R. 6199 would allow individuals with HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans to use up to $250 a year — or up to $500 a year for families — on services like primary care and telehealth before reaching their deductible. This bill also includes a provision that would count menstrual care products, like tampons, pads, cups and other products, as a qualified medical expense; as well as a provision that would count up to $500 of qualified sports and fitness expenses per year for individuals — $1,000 for families — as qualified medical expenses. These might include gym memberships and classes and safety equipment for sports or physical activity. The committee voted against including dietary supplements as a qualified medical expense.

3. The last bill, H.R. 6311, will allow people to carry over flexible spending account balances to another year. It sets the account limit to three times the annual contribution limit. The bill also ups the limit for HSA contributions to equal the combined out-of-pocket and deductible expenses on their insurance plans. In 2018, this would up the HSA contribution limit from $3,450 for an individual to $6,650, and from $6,900 for a family to $13,300 for a family. 

Editor's note: This article was updated July 24 at 8:30 a.m. CT with the results of the vote. 

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