Conservative Action Project Issues Memo in Support of HSA Decoupling — Tax Free Expenditures for Health Care During the Pandemic

The CAP Memo can be found here, the text of which reads:

August 5, 2020
Washington, DC

Conservatives support efforts in Congress by Senators Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse, and Representatives Ted Budd and Chip Roy, to decouple health savings accounts (HSA) from high deductible health plans in forthcoming COVID-19 legislation.

Health savings accounts allow individuals to set aside money, pre-tax, for certain medical services. This gives Americans access to preventative and healthcare services they might not otherwise be able to afford. However, current law only allows individuals with a high deductible health plan to access the benefits and flexibility of an HSA.

Legislation offered by conservatives in Congress would lift this restriction during the length of the COVD-19 emergency, allowing all Americans with a health plan, including Medicare and Medicaid, to access HSA benefits.

This is particularly beneficial for Medicare patients, who are most vulnerable to the virus and also incur the largest portion of healthcare expenses in America. Allowing Medicare beneficiaries to offset some of their expenses with the help of an HSA would help the elderly remain financially solvent, and provide resources to take preventative health measures to protect themselves.

Essential and frontline workers who continue to serve the economy during the pandemic would likewise benefit from the ability to set aside a portion of their un-taxed earnings for health needs – and the necessary preventative care – that may arise.

This is a small change that, if implemented, would have an outsized impact in helping Americans prepare and manage the increased uncertainty around COVID-19. We urge Congress to include this modification in its upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation.

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