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Amendments Encourage Senate Finance Committee to Protect Flexible Spending Accounts
Date:9/22/2009

Limited Relief Gained for Benefit in Updated Health Care Reform Proposal

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following the introduction of health care reform legislation last week by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), more than a dozen amendments were filed this weekend by members of the Senate Finance Committee to protect flexible spending accounts (FSAs) -- a valuable benefit used by millions of Americans to manage and hold down their health care costs. As reemphasized in updated legislation introduced today, Sen. Baucus proposes to restrict the use of FSAs to help cover a portion of the costs of health care reform.

America's Healthy Future Act, as introduced by Sen. Baucus, contains provisions that would drastically restrict the use of FSAs primarily by imposing a $2,500 cap (initially proposed last week at $2,000) on contributions that - unlike other provisions in the legislation - would not adjust with inflation. The legislation also proposes limiting the use of the benefit for over-the-counter medications without a doctor's prescription and including FSAs together with major medical plans in an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans.

"It's disappointing that Sen. Baucus has focused his sights on restricting the use of flexible spending accounts through an unreasonably low cap on contributions. He appears to be discriminating against FSAs which, unlike other provisions in the bill, is not indexed over time," said Joe Jackson, chairman of Save Flexible Spending Plans and CEO of WageWorks, a benefits company based in San Mateo, California. "Without a change, many who rely on flexible spending accounts, including individuals and families battling chronic conditions with high out-of-pocket costs, will lose the full value of the benefit and be forced to pay higher taxes and health care costs."

Amendments filed by Senate Finance
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SOURCE Save Flexible Spending Plans
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