Insider News: Oct. 17, 2019

Posted by AllWays Health Partners blog team on October 17, 2019

With open enrollment quickly approaching, many in the health insurance industry are already focusing their attention on the future. We have our eyes on a few changes coming in 2020, including: a proposed new act to allow families to have both an HSA and FSA, increases in health care costs, and Walmart's pilot health care programs.

Lawmakers introduce act to allow families to access both HSAs, FSAs

The Health Savings for Families Act would allow families to utilize both a health savings account (HSA) and flexible savings account (FSA) without any tax consequences. Both HSAs and health FSAs give people the option of putting money directly from their paycheck, tax-free, into an account to be used to pay for medical-related expenses throughout the year.

HSAs are only available to those with a high-deductible health plan. A health FSA is offered through employer benefits programs. Under the current law, health FSAs follow the same standards as a medical insurance plan with a spouse and any children up to age 26 being covered. Since the whole family is covered by the FSA, the other spouse or partner can't get an HSA.

The proposed act would allow families to have both a health FSA and an HSA if the FSA isn't used to reimburse the expenses of the spouse paying into the HSA. 

Large employers predict a 5% increase in average cost to cover health insurance for workers and their families

Employers and workers can expect to pay more for health insurance in 2020, according to a recent National Business Group on Health survey. Key findings of the survey include:

  • The cost of health insurance for workers and families will rise to an average of $15,375 in 2020, a 5% increase over this year.
  • Employees will cover $4,500 in expenses on average, despite employers covering 70% of costs.
  • Only 25% of surveyed employers said they would exclusively offer high-deductible plans; others are reintroducing preferred provider organization (PPO) plans.

Walmart to begin health care pilot programs for employees

As part of their efforts to reduce health care costs, Walmart will introduce several employee pilot programs starting January 1. Each program will only be available in select states, and include concierge services to address frequent questions from members, a low-cost telehealth service, and programs to connect patients with doctors.

Employees nationwide will also have access to low-cost fitness memberships, and a set copay of $35 for visits to a primary care physician.

Topics: Insider News

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