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Forgot About the ACA? Here’s What You Need to Know

Forgot About the ACA? Here’s What You Need to Know
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2018 by Bruce Gillis

With everything that has been in the news lately, it’s easy to overlook policy nuances and proposals.

ACA-updatesYet, healthcare remains a key issue. And for those of us in the HR space, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an integral part of our daily workload.

It may seem like nothing has changed with the ACA since Republican efforts to repeal the legislation foundered in 2017. In fact, new proposals were recently circulated by the Trump Administration, which could have important ramifications for plans that can be offered to employees. Here are potential ACA changes to watch for:

  • Expansion of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). This proposed change would allow more companies to offer HRAs, rolling back restrictions on the usage of this type of coverage put in place by the Obama Administration. Under the proposed revisions, small- and medium-sized companies that don’t offer health insurance to their employees could reimburse employees up to $1,800 for their premium costs on the individual marketplaces. HRAs are most commonly used in tandem with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) since the employer-funded HRA can offset out-of-pocket expenses that employees incur with HDHPs. However, employers may choose to restrict the list of expenses that HRA funds will cover, making them a flexible tool for employers but an uncertain source of coverage for employees.
  • Loosening restrictions on state waivers. The other proposed policy change is to make it easier for states to waive ACA requirements. These waivers would allow states to offer insurance plans with less coverage than what the ACA currently mandates. For example, states could use ACA subsidies to offer short-term policies that don’t cover pre-existing conditions. These types of plans would be less costly and therefore attractive to young, healthy people not seeking comprehensive coverage. There are concerns that these plans will draw healthy individuals out of the larger insurance pool and create a parallel insurance market that could destabilize the ACA marketplaces.

As has happened many times before, we’ll have to adopt a wait-and-see attitude with these proposals. With control of the House of Representatives and many statewide offices moving back to the Democratic Party, these proposals may not advance, or they could be adopted piecemeal by different states. As HR professionals, it’s our job to look past the 24- hour news cycle and keep our fingers on the pulse of the ACA and healthcare regulations.

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Bruce Gillis Head of Compliance Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. View All Posts