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Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Inspector General -- AUDIT

"Flexible Benefit Plans Negatively Impact Medicare's Hospital Insurance Program," (A-05-93-00066)

August 8, 1994


Complete Text of Report is available in PDF format (1.1 mb). Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Office of Public Affairs at 202-619-1343.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

This final report estimates that flexible benefit plans (salary reduction agreements whereby an employee elects a reduced salary so that payment can be taken in the form of nontaxable fringe benefits) will cost the Medicare trust fund revenues of about $2.1 billion over the next 5 years. While revenue declines, future expenditures will not decline since participants in flexible benefit plans lower their liability for Medicare taxes, but remain entitled to receive the full range of Medicare benefits. We recommended that flexible benefit plans be included in the health insurance portion of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxable wage base.