LENDING SUPPORT TO OUR PATIENTS
This week the AAOMS president, Louis K. Rafetto, DMD, asked us to come together in support of a collective action to legislate to increase the FSA spending cap for our patients, as well as, to abolish the “Use It or Lose It” rule. We need to advocate for our patient’s right to base medical and dental choices on necessity, not on financial restrictions. Please learn more at OMS Action Network on how your voice can be heard, and join us to support our patients medical rights!!
As healthcare providers, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are deeply committed to assuring that all patients have access to quality care that is also affordable. Many Americans rely on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), tax-free spending accounts usually funded through voluntary salary reduction agreements between employees and employers, to pay for qualified out-of-pocket health care costs. In recent years, healthcare costs have escalated to a degree that the current FSA spending cap of $2,550 is no longer sufficient to allow patients to afford the services they need. In response, AAOMS has signaled its support for such legislation as the RAISE Health Benefits Act (HR 1185) that would cancel the FSA “use-it-or-lose-it” rule; increase the annual FSA contribution limit to $5,000; and allow families with more than two dependents to deposit up to $500 a year in their FSA for each additional dependent. Legislation to increase the FSA cap is an important component of AAOMS’s advocacy efforts, and was a key issue for OMSs participating in this year’s Day on the Hill program.
AAOMS is not alone in its efforts to revise the FSA regulations. Late last week a letter written by AAOMS and co-signed by the American Dental Association and nine other dental groups comprising the Organized Dentistry Coalition, was sent to the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee urging that they increase the annual FSA cap from $2,550 a year to $5,000, as a way to ease the burden of escalating healthcare costs on consumers.
Sent in response to a May 17, 2016 Subcommittee hearing on tax proposals to improve health care, the letter points out that, “Many common and necessary dental procedures such as dental implants, a set of braces, a root canal, or even the extraction of an abscessed tooth require out-of-pocket spending. By allowing consumers to save only 50 percent of what they can expect to spend out of pocket, we are forcing them to make critical medical decisions based on what they can afford, not on what is medically necessary.”
The coalition asked the Subcommittee to consider legislation that would enable consumers to drive their own health care spending. Citing HR 1185 as an example, the letter endorsed the bill’s provisions to:
- Add an additional $500 to the FSA savings cap for each dependent above two dependents; and
- Better prepare families for expected and unanticipated health care costs by allowing them to carry over unused funds and eliminating the IRS’s onerous “use it or lose it rule.”
Please add your voice to those who support an increase in the FSA cap. Visit the OMS Action Network and learn how you can advocate for the specialty on this and other vital issues. Your help is urgently needed.