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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Helping Write the Bills

From Axios Vitals (7/23):
HealthEquity, a leading provider of health savings accounts, said last week that it had "participated in drafting legislation" to significantly expand HSAs.
  • The bill, sponsored by by Reps. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) and Jason Smith (R-Mo.), would expand HSAs to the 57 million seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare.
Why it matters: Most companies hide their behind-the-scenes involvement in bills, Axios' Bob Herman writes. And the bill the company says it helped write is one that would directly expand its profits.
Between the lines: HealthEquity is one of the largest companies that handles health savings accounts, which function as pre-tax savings funds for medical expenses. This bill would undeniably boost its top and bottom lines.
  • HealthEquity manages HSAs for 4 million people, and it posts some of the highest margins in the industry.
  • The company expects to register $340 million of revenue this year, with a 25% net profit margin.
  • Opening Medicare up to HSAs would allow HealthEquity to collect a lot more money in interest, as it pools more health care cash, and a lot more in transaction fees as more people swipe their HSA cards at a doctor’s office.
What they’re saying: HealthEquity did not address questions about how it shaped the bill or whether its involvement was a conflict of interest.
  • A spokesperson for Bera said HealthEquity “did not draft this legislation,” despite the company’s press release, and that Bera consults “with a wide range of stakeholders when writing legislation, including in this instance.”