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New Law Eases Healthcare Burden on Small Businesses

Published:  December 20, 2016

Last week, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act (“Act’).  The bill has been signed by President Obama, and will become effective on January 1, 2017.  The Act contains important provisions that could help level the health insurance benefits field for small businesses.  In particular, the Act allows employers with less than fifty (50) employees to resume offering health reimbursement arrangements to their employees.   

As small business owners know all too well, on January 1, 2014, Obamacare eliminated the option of using a health reimbursement arrangement as part of its requirements, and implemented a $100.00 per employee, per day, fine for non-compliance.  Small business owners were left in a quandary with no specific guidance on how to offer their employees competitive health benefit plans in the face of rising costs.  The Act eliminates the Obamacare restrictions, restores the health reimbursement arrangement option, and brings some certainty to small businesses in this area.  In addition to the small business health benefits provision, the Act also designates funding for opioid research, contains funding for additional cancer research, requires insurance companies to treat mental health in the same manner as physical medical treatments, and alters the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval provisions in certain situations as part of a much larger bipartisan bill.  It appears likely that the Act will remain effective after the change in presidential administration, given its bipartisan support.

If you have any questions regarding the 21st Century Cures Act or Obamacare, please contact the attorneys at Royal, P.C.