The Future of the Affordable Care Act

Posted by bop-admin on Dec 19, 2016 10:15:58 PM

The future of ACA is uncertain post presidential election.
What changes can employers expect with the new administration?

Why is the exact future of the Affordable Care Act unclear right now?

- President Elect Trump discussed repealing and replacing the ACA on the campaign trail.

 - Since its enactment, virtually all Republicans in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have opposed the ACA, calling for its repeal.

 - Sweeping Republican victories in this election have given power of the congress and executive branches to Republicans.

What changes to the ACA are likely over the next four years?

While exact changes are largely unclear, at this time, Republicans in the past have suggested the following:

 - Full repeal of the ACA, with or without a potential replacement health care reform legislation;

 - Partial repeal of key provisions (such as the individual and employer mandates), while retaining some less controversial provisions;

 - Changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs; and

 - Implementing new policies intended to expand coverage and lower health care costs.

When will these changes take place?

The newly elected officials will not take office until early 2017. This means that there will likely be no significant legislative or regulatory changes to the ACA before then. At that point the 2017 sign up deadlines for the exchanges and medicaid will have passed with approximately 30 Million citizens covered by these insurance policies. This does leave some uncertainty for employers bound by ACA regulations, but it is likely that for 2017 employer reporting requirements will stay the same. The key is to be prepared for the status quo, and not do anything different at this time. ait to make any large-scale changes related to employer-provided health care once things have been ironed out .

Regardless of any future changes that may be made, employers that provide group health coverage for their employees must prepare for upcoming ACA deadlines. These may include:

 - Employer Shared Responsibility Rules. The ACA requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees (and dependent children). Penalties can apply for each month in which an ALE does not offer this required coverage.

 - Employer Reporting of Coverage. Employers must also report information under Sections 6055 and 6056 to the IRS and to certain individuals about the coverage they offer during the year. Returns and statements for each calendar year are due at the beginning of the following year.

 - Changes to ACA Limits for 2017. Several dollar limits are adjusted each year, and employer-sponsored plans should be updated to reflect those adjusted limits. For example, the out-of-pocket maximum increased to $7,150 for self-only coverage and $14,300 for family coverage for the 2017 plan year.

 - Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)- Health plans and issuers must provide an SBC to participants and beneficiaries that includes information about health plan benefits and coverage in plain language. The Departments issued a new SBC template and related materials to be used for health plans with open enrollment periods or plan years beginning on or after April 1, 2017.

OnePoint has an ACA Manager built seamlessly into the HCM platform.  The single database architecture simplifies the data gathering requirements for ACA by bringing HR, payroll and benefits data into a single ACA Timeline for each employee.  Required 1094 and 1095 forms can be populated automatically ready for final review without massive amounts of spreadsheets manipulation and administrative time to keep compliant.

 

Topics: HR Alert, ACA Compliance