Shaheen, Cassidy, Jones, Moran Introduce Bill to Allow Health Savings Accounts to Be Spent on Direct Primary Care

December 10, 2019

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) today introduced bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of health care and expand patients’ access to their primary care providers. 

The Direct Primary Care (DPC) model encourages patients to develop personal relationships with their primary care physician, including extending access to care beyond office visits and business hours and through telemedicine. It focuses on prevention and primary care, relying less on specialist and hospital referrals. It is a growing model used by more than 1,000 practices across 48 states and the District of Columbia. 

DPC models replace copays and deductibles with flat, affordable monthly fees. Current law makes DPC incompatible with health savings accounts (HSAs) paired with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). 

The Senators’ bill, the Primary Care Enhancement Act, clarifies federal law to provide that individuals who are enrolled in a DPC will retain eligibility to make HSA contributions. The bill also clarifies that pre-tax HSA funds may be used to pay DPC fees. 

“Congress needs to work across the aisle to expand access to affordable, quality health care. This bill is a reflection of that effort and demonstrates the common ground we share and the progress we can make by working together,” said Senator Shaheen. “The Primary Care Enhancement Act expands access to high quality primary care by allowing individuals to enroll in Direct Primary Care Arrangements in addition to comprehensive health plans, without having to forfeit eligibility for making Health Savings Account contributions. This is common sense, bipartisan legislation to improve health care and I urge Leader McConnell to hold a vote on this bill as soon as possible.” 

Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to stabilize the health insurance markets and make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans. She introduced the Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower (MORE) Health Education Act of 2019 with Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) to counteract Trump administration sabotage efforts that have slashed funding for health care enrollment advertising and marketing by 90 percent since the President took office. She also introduced the Protecting Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Act with Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to prevent the Trump administration from using federal premium tax credits to promote and incentivize enrollment in “junk plans” that do not provide coverage of pre-existing conditions or essential health benefits. In October, Shaheen, Baldwin and Warner called on the Trump administration to do more to prevent third-party web brokers from steering individuals toward these junk health insurance plans.   

And earlier this year, Shaheen unveiled a health care affordability package that includes three pieces of legislation to reduce health care costs for patients and expand access to critical medical services. Together, the Marketplace Certainty ActImproving Health Insurance Affordability Act and Reducing Costs for Out-of-Network Services Act would make essential reforms to the health care law that would help stabilize the marketplace, lower premiums for middle-class families and combat escalating out-of-pocket health care costs.