In a positive development for small business owners, the U.S. Treasury Department announced this week that it will delay enforcement of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibition relating to standalone health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) until July 1.

“While today’s announcement by the Treasury Department is a step forward in helping small businesses to provide affordable health coverage to their employees, a short-term delay isn’t good enough,” said Tom Woods, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “Congressional action is needed to make this change permanent.”

Your Home Builders Association has been working on several fronts to achieve this goal. NAHB CEO Jerry Howard discussed the issue of standalone HRAs in a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on Feb. 5.

In addition, your Home Builders Association is calling on Congress to advance legislation based on the bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) in the waning days of the 113th Congress that would reverse the IRS regulation preventing small businesses from providing employees with standalone HRAs.

A standalone HRAs is an employer-provided benefit that offers participants a spending account to reimburse them for qualified medical expenses. However, in light of the ACA’s ban against health plans with an annual dollar limit on essential benefits, standalone HRAs have been deemed impermissible.

“We look forward to working with Reps. Boustany and Thompson to re-introduce legislation that will require the IRS to reverse its regulation preventing small businesses from providing standalone HRAs so that they can provide better health coverage to their employees at lower costs,” said Woods.