Earlier this week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in favor of closing a healthcare loophole in the groundbreaking Healthy San Francisco program.
Overview: The 2006 Healthcare Security Ordinance required that San Francisco employers must provide healthcare to their employees. Employers can do this in one of three ways: pay for private insurance, enroll their workers into Healthy San Francisco, or enroll their workers into a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA).
The loophole lies within the Health Reimbursement Account. If an employer chooses to provide healthcare through an HRA, workers must submit a medical receipt to their employer for reimbursement. But there are issues:
· Some businesses are pocketing unclaimed HRA funds at the end of the year–a sum total of over $50 million as profit–even as they misleadingly charging customers for their worker health care expenses.
· Some businesses are overly restricting how they define a qualified reimbursement (e.g. no vision reimbursements, no dental reimbursements, etc), in this way getting more money back at year’s end.
· Some businesses are not notifying workers that they have available health funds through an HRA.
Supervisor David Campos’s amendment closes this loophole by stating that HRAs must roll-over from year to year and thereby ensuring that workers will have continuous access to health funds and preventing overly restrictive HRAs. Moreover, Supervisor Campos legislation requires employers to notify their works of their HRAs.
Thanks to Supervisors Campos, Cohen, Mar, Avalos, Kim and Mirkarimi, who all voted yesterday in favor of closing this loophole, the amendment passed to guarantee that workers have continuous health care, which was the original intent of the law.
But it’s not over! Interim Mayor Ed Lee’s has indicated that he will veto this legislation when it reaches his desk. Moreover, the Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) have been using every tactic to eliminate Healthy San Francisco, first through failed lawsuit and now by getting two mayoral candidates to move their legislation undermining Healthy SF. This is despite of compromise and amendments from six Supervisors and the Close the Loophole Coalition comprised of heath, labor, faith-based and community advocates.
PLEASE JOIN US in urging Mayor Ed Lee to protect workers healthcare by signing David Campos’ amendment!
Two ways you can help:
1. Call Mayor Ed Lee TODAY: (415) 554-6141
2. Sign our petition: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6267/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4915
Mayor Lee has until October 28th to Approve, Ignore or Veto the Campos Amendment, which would close the Healthy SF loophole. Say please take action TODAY!
For more information, please visit us at: www.ClosetheHealthcareLoophole.org.