Administrative, Political Issues Will Slow Down Any New Rule

Administrative, Political Issues Will Slow Down Any New Rule

A couple of important caveats exist for any employer or  adviser who is interested in possibly heading down this new path to use HRAs as a vehicle for providing health benefit plans for employees:

First, the proposed rule is the first real look at how the new“Individual Coverage HRAs” (ICHRAs) might work. Like all federal agency rules, the Administrative Procedures Act imposes a rigorous comment and revision process which cannot be avoided.  We are now in the first period awaiting comments by anyone who is interested.  This deadline is Dec. 28, 2018.  Once the comment period has ended, there will probably be revisions and maybe revisions to the revisions, as all changes are sent out for comments.   Bottom line — don’t stand on one leg and hold your breath, waiting for something to actually be available for consideration.  More likely, it will be several if not many months down the road.

The other caveat may get more headlines than the APA administrative process.  Under the 1989 Congressional Review Act, Congress has 60 days while in session during which it can rescind and effectively kill a new rule. 

Given the results of the mid-term elections, with the Democrats taking solid control as the majority in the U.S. House and the Republicans holding their majority in the U.S. Senate, political fireworks area distinct possibility as any rescission proposal goes through the legislative process.

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