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Paulsen Advances Three Health Care Affordability Bills

WASHINGTONThe House Ways and Means Committee approved three bills authored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) that will make needed medical care more affordable for Minnesota families by expanding and strengthening Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Used by more than 20 million individuals and families nationwide, HSAs enable enrollees to contribute pre-tax dollars to a fund paying for qualified health care expenses. The passage of Paulsen’s legislation follows a June hearing of the Joint Economic Hearing he chaired that examined how HSAs can lower health care costs and make America’s health care system more consumer-friendly.  

“Health Savings Accounts help Americans save for medical expenses and spend their health care dollars more effectively,” said Paulsen.“They’ve also been proven to lower health care costs. But there are ways we can modernize HSAs and make them more widely available. These bills will make quality care more affordable and more accessible to middle-income families.”

Minnesota has the third-highest enrollment in HSAs in the country, with nearly 1.2 million enrollees.According to one estimate, if half of employer-sponsored insurance plans utilized HSAs, Americans could save $57 billion in health care spending annually.

Paulsen’s bills each make HSAs more useful and more accessible to millions of Americans.

H.R. 6317allows account holders to use HSA funds to cover expenses associated with Direct Primary Care (DPC) arrangements. Patients and employers using Direct Primary Care models pay their doctors and care providers directly, without third-party insurance involvement. It enables doctors and other providers to focus more directly on a patient’s needs instead of insurance company administration and billing requirements. Existing rules prohibit Direct Primary Care patients from using HSAs to pay their provider fees.

H.R. 6309 helps working seniors by allowing Medicare enrollees over 65 to contribute to their HSAs. Existing law prohibits Medicare enrollees from continuing to contribute to Health Savings Accounts after turning 65.

H.R. 6306 makes it easier for families to contribute to and use HSAs. It increases maximum contribution limits to $6,650 for individuals and $13,300 for families. It also creates a grace period for medical expenses incurred before an HSA is established, and it permits spouses over age 55 to make catch-up contributions into an account each year.