Employers would be able to use standalone reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to compensate employees for health care expenses under a bipartisan bill recently introduced in Congress.

The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (H.R. 2911 and S 1697) would roll back Treasury Department guidance that prohibits employers from using standalone HRAs to compensate employees for health care-related expenses.

"I've heard from farmers, small business owners and accountants who are worried about getting hit with a penalty for something they've done for a long time without any controversy," said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). "It doesn't make sense to tell small employers they can't help their employees get health insurance. Why disrupt something that worked? Our bill puts this provision back to what it was so farmers and small businesses can use this option as they see fit."

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