UPDATE: On June 22, 2017, Senate Republicans their 142-page ACA replacement, titled the "Better Care Reconciliation Act." The proposed legislation seeks to:
- Roll back taxes and penalties in the ACA,
- Repeal the individual mandate and the employer mandate,
- Limit Medicaid expansion,
- Give states more flexibility to opt out of some insurance requirements, and
- Eliminate Planned Parenthood from federal funding.
Key parts of the proposed legislation will likely change as the Senate negotiates the details while trying to secure the 50 votes they need to pass the bill. GOP leadership has stated that they are hopeful for a vote by the end of next week. However, many lawmakers remain skeptical the work can get done in such a tight time frame.
Key Takeaway for Employers
Until the new legislation is passed and the implementation date is upon us, employers must continue to comply with the ACA in its current form.
MRA will continually monitor the progress of the Better Care Reconciliation Act and provide updates on the MRA website in the News to Know section. As always, our HR Business Advisors are available to answer your questions, 24/7, at 866-HR-HOTLINE (866-474-6854), or email InfoNow@mranet.org.
UPDATE: On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, with a few alterations from the version previously proposed. The passed legislation now proposes:
- allowing states to let insurers charge more to individuals with preexisting medical conditions;
- allowing insurers to charge 30 percent higher premiums for one year to individuals who have a gap in coverage;
- allowing states to follow current ACA requirements to include a specific set of benefits in all health plans sold to individuals and small businesses, or create their own set of coverage requirements.
The Senate has created its own version of the American Health Care Act bill in response to the House bill. However, no details have been released and there is no specific timeline when a draft will be released or debated on the floor of the Senate. It is anticipated that more will be known before the July 4th Congressional Recess.
What this means for employers right now is that ACA in its current form still remains the law of the land and covered employers need to continue to comply with all aspects. MRA will continually monitor and provide updates on any new developments.
BACKGROUND: On March 6, 2017, House Republicans unveiled proposed legislation to replace the ACA. The American Health Care Act called for:
- freezing enrollment in the ACA's expanded Medicaid program on Jan. 1, 2020, and capping future Medicaid funding. Until the end of 2019, states would be able to sign individuals up for expanded Medicaid;
- replacing insurance subsidies with refundable tax credits to help people pay for health coverage;
- ending the penalty for failing to comply with the individual and employer mandates to buy insurance;
- preserving two popular ACA features:
• letting young adults stay on their parents' plans until age 26, and
• preventing insurers from dropping people with preexisting conditions.
Source: Michael Hyatt, HR Government Affairs Director, MRA – The Management Association