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Affordable Care Act: Announcement and Executive Order from White House

By October 17, 2017 December 6th, 2017 Employee Benefits
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On Thursday, October 12, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order and an announcement regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Executive Order

After Congress failed to pass a bill to repeal the ACA, President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to expand access to MEWAs, HRAs and short-term limited-duration insurance. These relaxed regulations would allow individuals and small businesses to buy health insurance policies across state lines and avoid certain ACA requirements. These rule changes are designed to begin dismantling the ACA.

Federal agencies have 60 days to draft regulations to implement the changes related to MEWAs and short-term insurance. The date for compliance is December 11, 2017.

Federal agencies have 120 days to draft regulations to implement changes related to HRAs. The date for compliance is February 9, 2018.

Impact on the ACA

The executive order itself doesn’t make any changes to the ACA, however, it instructs federal agencies to draft regulations that could affect ACA provisions. Until these regulations are drafted and pass through any required notice and comment periods, there will be no changes to the existing ACA.

For a full Health Care Bulletin which further explains the executive order and its impact, please click HERE.

Announcement

The White House has also announced that it will no longer reimburse insurers for cost-sharing reductions made available to low-income individuals through the Exchanges under the ACA. This change is effective immediately.

The administration maintains it does not have the legal authority to make these payments. Although a federal district court judge for the District of Columbia ruled on May 12, 2016 that the federal government didn’t have constitutional authority to make payments, this ruling was put on hold pending an appeal and payments have continued. Rather than continue to wait for the appeal, the administration announced it will end payments immediately.

Impact on the ACA

Some states have indicated they will sue the federal government to force the continuation of payments. Some members of Congress have indicated that they would support a measure that would authorize the payments. However, unless a court intervenes or Congress enacts an appropriation, the payments will likely stop.

The affect this announcement will have is still unclear, however, open enrollment for the Exchange begins November 1. Without the necessary time to make changes in response to the loss of subsidies, there will likely be confusion regarding coverage for 2018.

For a full Health Care Bulletin which further explains the announcement and its impact, click HERE.

You can find more information like this on our Employer Benefit Resource page.

All insurance policies are different. Be sure to review your insurance policy for specific information about coverages available to you. Nothing in this post is meant to suggest a guarantee of coverage.