Executive Order on Health Care Transparency also Asks for Guidance on Expanding HDHPs, Health FSA Carryovers and Medical Expenses

July 9, 2019

On June 24, 2019, the White House published Executive Order 13877, Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare To Put Patients First. The executive order directs the Treasury, HHS, and DOL to adopt guidance and rules that will help improve price and quality transparency in health care generally. While the primary purpose of the order is geared toward price and quality transparency, the order also addresses HDHPs, health FSA carryovers, and medical expenses.

On transparency, the order directs the regulatory agencies to, within 90 days, request comments on a proposal to require providers, insurers, and self-insured health plans to provide information to patients (prior to receiving care) on expected out-of-pocket expenses. The order also directs the agencies to, within 180 days, adopt rules directed at increasing access for researchers, innovators, and others to de-identified claims data from group health plans. The rules must do so in a way that complies with HIPAA and other laws that ensure patient privacy and security.

On HDHPs, the order directs the Treasury to, within 120 days, publish guidance that allows HDHPs to be more compatible with HSAs. Specifically, the order asks for a rule that makes HDHPs compatible with HSAs, even where the HDHP covers medical care for chronic conditions before the statutory deductible has been met.

On health FSA carryovers, the order directs the Treasury to, within 180 days, propose regulations that would increase the amount that an employee can carryover from one health FSA plan year to the next.

On medical expenses, the order directs the Treasury to, within 180 days, propose regulations that would treat certain arrangements as eligible expenses under IRC Section 213(d). Those arrangements could potentially include direct primary care arrangements and health care sharing ministries.

The order is not a change in law — so employers do not have to do anything with regard to immediate changes on compliance efforts. The order is an indication that some of the above changes could be coming, depending on how the agencies respond and develop their guidance. The regulatory agencies must first publish proposed rules and go through a comment period, so any changes would not likely take effect until late 2020 at the earliest (and even then, there would likely be a grace period for plan years that have already begun). NFP Benefits Compliance will continue to monitor developments on this and report in future editions of Compliance Corner.

Executive Order 13877 »