ARRA COBRA Extension Passed—Senator Nelson to Vote for Health Bill—Flex Spending Accounts to be Indexed!

By Ric Joyner, MBA, CEBS, GBA, CFCI

COBRA ARRA Extension

Last night, as part of the defense spending measure the Senate passed the ARRA extension. For details on the extension read this blog report.

eflex will be having seminars next week on the details and changes that clients and brokers are required to implement. Look for blog posts on the seminar details.

Health Care in the Senate

A deal was reached with Senator Nelson of NE regarding several key issues, abortion and Medicaid. Nelson was siding with the republicans on the filibuster. For details, read an excellent piece from the Washington Post. To read Nelson’s press conference click here. This will allow the Senate to vote next week or as early as this weekend on the Senate version of the bill.

Flexible Spending Plans to be indexed

Part of the Senate compromise to acquire Nelson’s support was to allow FSAs is to be indexed.

“The Democrat from Nebraska also ensured that non-profit insurers are exempted from the bill’s $6 billion annual excise tax on insurers. And Nelson won a concession to index for inflation the $2,500 cap on contributions to flexible health spending accounts.” Politico

What is next in Health Care?

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker has sent the House Members home for the Holidays. The result is that once the Senate passes the bill next week, the House and Senate will have a conference committee to determine and negotiate a final bill. Pelosi is struggling with the left wing of her party which desires a single payer health care system (marketing spin=public option). The Senate is looking at reforms that will lower costs, which the SP system will not do according to the CBO.

Look for an exciting next few weeks in health care, and as always, let your voice be heard. And Bill O’Reilly stated last week on his show that he believes the Democrats could lose both houses and the Republicans will repeal this historic legislation. Stay tuned for the best football game on the planet. Ideas versus Ideology!