On Oct. 23, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services jointly issued a proposed rule, Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Other Account-Based Group Health Plans, that seeks to expand the availability of affordable health insurance for hardworking Americans by increasing the usability of health reimbursement arrangements.

According to a DOL press release, HRAs are designed to give workers and their families greater control over their health care by providing an additional way for their employers to finance quality, affordable health insurance. If finalized, the rule would also provide opportunities for employers, especially small and mid-size employers who currently do not offer coverage or that face large administrative burdens in offering coverage, to finance individually selected health insurance on a tax-preferred basis.

The Department of Treasury estimates that once employers and employees have fully adjusted to the new rule, roughly 800,000 employers will provide HRAs to pay for individual health insurance coverage for more than 10 million employees.

The proposed rule comes at the direction of President Trump’s Executive Order 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” which asks the secretaries of the treasury, labor and HHS to “consider proposing regulations or revising guidance, to the extent permitted by law and supported by sound policy, to increase the usability of HRAs, to expand employers’ ability to offer HRAs to their employees and to allow HRAs to be used in conjunction with nongroup coverage.”

The public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on proposed rule. ABC plans to submit comments before the Dec. 28 deadline.

For more information, read the White House’s fact sheet or visit the DOL Employee Benefits and Security Administration’s website.