The Washington Report
June 26, 2019
Note to Subscribers: July Holiday Publication Schedule
The Washington Report will not be published on July 3 and July 10, 2019. Look for your next Aon Washington Report on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!
President Signs Executive Order on Health Care Pricing and Transparency
On June 24, 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order addressing health care pricing and quality transparency. Provisions included in the Executive Order are provided below, as highlighted in the Administration Fact Sheet.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will require hospitals to publicly disclose amounts that reflect what people actually pay for services in an easy-to-read format.
- HHS will begin the process of making information on out-of-pocket spending more readily available to patients before they receive care.
- Researchers, innovators, and providers will get more access to data that will help them develop tools to provide patients with more information about healthcare prices and quality.
- The Administration will improve quality measurements and make them public.
- The President’s Order also addresses consumers’ incentives to shop for care by expanding the benefit of Health Savings Accounts and other tax-preferred health accounts.
The Executive Order is available here
The news release is available here.
A fact sheet is available here.
Congress Scheduled to Recess Next Week
The House and Senate will recess the week of July 1, 2019. The chambers are scheduled to return to the Hill the week of July 8.
DOL Releases Proposed Rule on Apprenticeship Program and Announces Other Updates
On June 24, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule that would establish a process for the DOL to advance the development of “high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs).” The DOL also announced awards totaling $183.8 million to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships for educational institutions partnering with companies that provide a funding match component. According to a news release, the DOL will also make available an additional $100 million for efforts to expand apprenticeships and close the skills gap. Additionally, the DOL is planning to issue a revised Training and Employment Notice that will subsequently be accompanied by an application for entities seeking to recognize IRAPs.
Comments on the proposed rule are due no later than August 26, 2019.
The proposed rule is available here
The news release is available here.
Employees Can Use HRAs to Buy Individual Health Insurance Policies Starting After 2019
The Trump Administration has finalized regulations that will expand the use of employer-sponsored health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to permit employees to use HRAs to purchase individual health insurance policies, including policies sold on the Affordable Care Act health insurance Exchanges. In addition, the final regulations permit new stand-alone HRAs in limited circumstances. The final regulations are effective in plan years beginning after 2019.
These final regulations are the third and final set of regulations issued as directed by an Executive Order signed by President Trump in 2017 addressing association health plans (AHPs), short-term limited-duration health insurance policies, and individual coverage HRAs. The regulations on short-term limited-duration health insurance policies were finalized in 2018, and a federal district court struck down the final regulations on AHPs earlier this year.
The Aon bulletin, which discusses the final HRA regulations, can be found here
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