Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Other Account-Based Group Health Plans
This document sets forth proposed rules to expand opportunities for working men and women and their families to access affordable, quality healthcare through proposed changes to regulations under various provisions of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and the Internal Revenue Code (Code) regarding health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and other account-based group health plans. (For simplicity, this preamble generally refers only to HRAs, but references to HRAs should also be considered to include other account-based group health plans, unless indicated otherwise.) Specifically, these proposed rules allow integrating HRAs with individual health insurance coverage, if certain conditions are met. The proposed rules also set forth conditions under which certain HRAs would be recognized as limited excepted benefits. Also, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury Department) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) propose rules regarding premium tax credit (PTC) eligibility for individuals offered coverage under an HRA integrated with individual health insurance coverage. In addition, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposes a clarification to provide plan sponsors with assurance that the individual health insurance coverage the premiums of which are reimbursed by an HRA or a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA) does not become part of an ERISA plan, provided certain conditions are met. Finally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposes rules that would provide a special enrollment period in the individual market for individuals who gain access to an HRA integrated with individual health insurance coverage or who are provided a QSEHRA. The goal of these proposed rules is to expand the flexibility and use of HRAs to provide more Americans with additional options to obtain quality, affordable healthcare. The proposed rules would affect employees and their family members; employers, employee organizations, and other plan sponsors; group health plans; health insurance issuers; and purchasers of individual health insurance coverage.
Proposed Extension of Information Collection Requests for Public Comment
The Department of Labor (the Department), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is soliciting comments on the proposed extension of the information collection requests (ICRs) contained in the documents described below. A copy of the ICRs may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. ICRs also are available at reginfo.gov (http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain).
Definition of “Employer” Under Section 3(5) of ERISA-Association Retirement Plans and Other Multiple-Employer Plans
The Department of Labor proposes a regulation under title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations to expand access to affordable quality retirement saving options by clarifying the circumstances under which an employer group or association or a professional employer organization (PEO) may sponsor a workplace retirement plan. In particular, the proposed regulation clarifies that employer groups or associations and PEOs can, when satisfying certain criteria, constitute ``employers'' within the meaning of section 3(5) of ERISA for purposes of establishing or maintaining an individual account ``employee pension benefit plan'' within the meaning of ERISA section 3(2). As an ``employer,'' a group or association can sponsor a defined contribution retirement plan for its members, as can a PEO sponsor a plan for client employers (collectively referred to as ``MEPs'' unless otherwise specified). The proposed regulation would allow different businesses to join a MEP, either through a group or association or through a PEO. The proposal would also permit certain working owners without employees to participate in a MEP sponsored by a group or association. The proposal would primarily affect groups or associations of employers, PEOs, plan participants, and plan beneficiaries. The proposal would not affect whether groups, associations, or PEOs assume joint-employment relationships with member-employers or client employers. But the proposal may affect banks, insurance companies, securities broker- dealers, record keepers, and other commercial enterprises that provide retirement-plan products and services.