President signs highway bill with payroll items

The President has signed the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (H.R. 3236) (P.L. 114-41). The bill contains a couple of payroll related items relating to veterans.

Health care reform

Solely for purposes of determining whether an employer is an applicable large employer and has at least 50 full-time employees, an individual is not taken into account as an employee for the month if the individual already has medical coverage for the month under: (1) the TRICARE program; or (2) under a Veterans Health Administration health care program, as determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Treasury. The exemption of veterans receiving certain government medical benefits is designed to encourage businesses that may be near the 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employee threshold to hire veterans without incurring additional costs of offering them health insurance coverage if they are already covered under a veteran health program. The provision is retroactively effective for months beginning after December 31, 2013.


Hospital care or medical care received under the Veterans Affairs for a service connected disability is not considered disqualifying coverage for purposes of the eligibility of an individual to establish or contribute to a health savings account (HSA). The individual must still meet all other applicable requirements to be considered an eligible individual for an HSA. Prior to this amendment, this kind of coverage would have most likely disqualified the individual from being able to make deductible contributions to a health savings account, because the benefits the coverage provided would be the same as those provided under the high deductible health plan. The provision is effective for months beginning after December 31, 2015.

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