We have just returned from the 2020 Capitol Conference. Just prior to going to DC, NAHU reported victories in repealing the Cadillac Tax and the HIT tax. The HIT tax repeal was enacted too late for this year and will take effect January 1, 2021. After years of fighting on behalf of our employee benefit clients, this was welcomed news. Now it is time to confront new issues.
First and foremost, among them is surprise billing. These bills arrive in cases of emergency, involuntary care, or instances where the parties had no choice in choosing their provider. There are two versions of dealing with this. One is through arbitration and the other through benchmarking. The former, in NAHU’s opinion, would only stand to increase the cost of coverage by adding another layer (attorney’s) to the process. The latter would be pegged to the privately negotiated, market-based median in-network rates in the geographic area of the service; or to a percentage of Medicare. As NAHU said to our legislators this year, “tying out-of-network reimbursement to privately negotiated, market-based rates would ensure reimbursements accurately reflect the cost of care in each market while directly addressing the extreme out-of0network outliers who continue to charge unconscionable rates”.
Second, is the “Public Option or Medicare for All are Choice for None”. Each of us must become more knowledgeable about this issue. It is not going away anytime soon and together with concepts like the “Green New Deal”, will continue to be issues for the progressives.
Third on the Capitol Conference agenda as Medicare. COBRA as creditable coverage is one of the main issues we have been working on with members of Congress; H.R. 2564is one such bill already in the pipeline. Also, on this topic is the issue of observation status. S.753and H.R. 1682 are current bills in each chamber on this topic. Finally, NAHU wants those over 65 that are still in the workforce to be able to continue their contributions or their HSA’s (assuming they are on a HDHP). H.R. 3796is a current bill attempting to allow this.
Last, but certainly not least, are “Market Stabilizers to Reduce Cost and Improve Individual and Employer Market Risk Pools”. There are two items under this. The first is the preservation of the unlimited employer tax exclusions and the second deals with employer reporting. The latter has two bills dealing with this, S. 2366and H.R. 4070.
Capitol Conference is one of NAHU’s premier events. If you have yet to attend, I urge you to do your best to go at least once. Often there is help for first timers from some of our locals to offset the registration fee. But seeing 500 or 600 members of NAHU from across the country, learning about the politics of the day and meeting with out representatives, is a very exciting experience. This year, we saw some of our NC representatives but not many. However, as nice as it is to sit down with them, the real “brains” behind the Congressperson are their legislative aids. We have good relationships with most of them after visiting with them for many years.
Finally, this could be my final newsletters as in am stepping down as the Federal L&L Chair. Greg Stancil has agreed to be my replacement. Greg is very knowledgeable and is involved on the national level in the employee benefits area with NAHU. He is up to date on the changes that are occurring nationally and statewide. I am extremely grateful and happy that Greg agreed to step in, and I hope everyone (leadership and membership) provides him with the support he deserves.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you all these years and I wish everyone continued success, happiness, and gratitude!