President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” will make it more difficult for parents of special-needs children to pay for tuition at special schools and to purchase medical equipment, according to a new report.
More than 30 million Americans place money into a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through their employers to help save emergency funds to pay for their families’ medical costs. Obamacare institutes a brand new $2,500 cap for FSAs, which will make more money taxable and could raise $13 billion in taxes for the federal government over the next decade.
“Before Obamacare passed, there was no limit to how much money you could put into your FSA at work,” Ryan Ellis, tax policy director at Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Caller. Ellis was inspired to perform research on the issue after hearing the complaints of a friend with a special-needs child.
“Most people don’t, but the one group that does put a lot of money into their FSAs is parents of kids with Down Syndrome, and parents of kids with physical disabilities,” Ellis said.
“Currently, if parents send their kids to a special school, the tuition is considered a qualified medical expense that can run through your FSA. If you have a kid who needs a durable piece of medical equipment that’s not covered by insurance, you can run that through your FSA,” Ellis said. “If FSAs had any limits before Obamacare, those were determined by the employer. The IRS had nothing to do with it.
“Obamacare creates a new $2,500 cap for FSAs,” Ellis continued. “That’s not going to affect most people, who just put in enough to pay for eyeglasses or dental work. But the one group that is being restricted is parents of special-needs children.”
Ellis said this technical change will add massive costs for parents.
“A big chunk of the tuition parents paid for special-needs schools used to be on a pre-tax basis. Now, they’re paying on an after-tax basis,” Ellis said.
The early intervention program at the National Child Research Center, an independent preschool in Washington, D.C., costs more than $14,000 per year and a more immersive program costs more than $26,000.
The White House did not return a request for comment.