Pictured: Lead sponsor Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) at the AAO’s 2017 Professional Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C
On July 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018 (H.R.6311), which includes a key component of the RAISE Act. The Responsible Additions and Increases to Sustain Employee (RAISE) Health Benefits Act, for which the AAO has been advocating for several years, called for elimination of the “use it or lose it rule” – under which employees forfeit their flexible spending account (FSA) balance at the end of the year. This provision has now passed the House as part of H.R. 6311.
If the bill becomes law, an employee’s hard-earned FSA contribution would stay theirs from year to year, for an amount up to three times the annual limit before needing to be spent down. This would allow individuals and families to save resources that could help them handle current and future medical and orthodontic expenses, aiding patients of AAO members who use FSAs to pay for their orthodontic treatment.
During the floor debate, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) spoke in support of the provision and highlighted the bipartisan nature of the policy. He explained the benefits that it would offer to the approximately 44 percent of employees that have access to a FSA, allowing individuals to rollover up to $7,950 each year.
Dr. Brent Larson, AAO president, is quoted in Rep. Stivers’ announcement about the passage of the legislation. The AAO will continue advocating for passage of the bill in the Senate.