Things are moving fast in the world of health reform (oh, how I love that word). Here is some of the latest coming from the Senate Committees:
A proposed ERISA waiver for states that set up a single payer system, here you go, while we are supposedly trying to simplify the system, consideration is being given to having employers again comply with a myriad of state laws if they have employees in more than one state.
Over the counter drugs may be gone from the FSA, the HAS and HRA. Only a few years ago eligibility for these products was added to the FSA which made sense, now Congress wants them gone presumably in some convoluted quest for money which of course will not occur if people put the same amount in their FSA and spend it on something else.
Here is one employers will like, extending COBRA beyond the normal 18 months all the way until the new health care exchanges are in place sometime in 2013 or beyond.
Here is very special goodie for employers to help pay for reform, a new premium tax. What is the big deal you say, self-funded employers are not subject to premium taxes, they will be subject to this one if passed. By gosh, you thought health care reform meant saving money. What it means is finding a way to pay for the subsidy to families earning up to $88,000 per year. So, is the problem the cost of coverage or the availability of coverage?
And one we can all live with, extension of the tax-free status of benefits to enrolled domestic partners, if a plan provides such coverage.