Health Care Reform Resources for Employers

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Beginning in 2017, the Republican majority in Congress and the Trump administration have made repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a top priority, and in March 2017 the House GOP leadership introduced the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as their designated bill to begin to "repeal and replace" the ACA. But party leaders have been unable to secure enough votes to pass the measure in the House, leaving the ACA in place for now.

Republican lawmakers were continuing to work behind the scenes to see if a compromise on the AHCA might yet be reached by the party's conservatives and moderates.

Until the ACA and its implementing regulations are changed, either by a replacement law or through targeted legislative actions or regulatory adjustments, employers subject to the ACA must comply with its many coverage and administrative requirements.


Updates

ACA Replacement Bill Shows Signs of Life
The GOP's efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are back from the dead, though not yet out of intensive care. Democratic congressional leaders still hope for the replacement bill's demise, after which some see bipartisan opportunities to fix the ACA's problems and address rising health care prices.

EEOC Settlement of Wellness Suit Leaves Unresolved Issues
A settlement reached by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and an employer over whether worker participation in a worksite health screening was "voluntary" is a warning signal not to go too far in pressing employees to participate in wellness-promoting initiatives. But conflicting federal rules and court decisions continue to muddy the compliance waters for employee wellness programs.

Expect a Push to Tax Health Benefits, Political Watchers Warn
As part of efforts to reform the tax code—or under a back-from-the-dead effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—employers could be taxed on group health benefits provided to workers, or employees could be taxed on benefits they've received.

As ACA Remains Law, Focus Turns Back to Compliance and Regulatory Relief
If GOP efforts to revive the American Health Care Act fail, the ACA and its implementing rules could still see modest changes through targeted legislative actions and regulatory adjustments. In the meantime, employers subject to the ACA should continue complying with the law's wide-ranging coverage mandates and employee tracking and reporting requirements, benefit attorneys advise. 

House Passes Association Health Plans for Small Businesses
The same week that saw the failure of the House GOP's bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, another health care measure—with far more limited aims—was brought to the floor and approved, although its Senate prospects are murky.

GOP's Health Care Bill Exposed an HSA Political Divide
Expanding the use of health savings accounts (HSAs) was a cornerstone of the Republicans' American Health Care Act, and that reinvigorated a debate between those who see HSAs are the key to health care consumerism and those who dismiss HSAs as benefiting only the wealthy.

Relief Extended for 'Grandmothered' Small Group Health Plans
The Trump administration is allowing small business an extra year to renew certain older plans that don't comply with the ACA and that don't fall under the open-ended exemption for grandfathered plans.

IRS to Accept Tax Returns Lacking Health Care Status; Employer Reporting Unchanged
Although the IRS has announced it will not reject taxpayers' 2016 returns that are missing health coverage information, employers still must distribute 1095 forms to employees and report employee health coverage to IRS, as deadlines loom.

How Trump's First Executive Order Could Affect Employer Health Plans
President Donald Trump's Jan. 20 executive order directing federal agencies that oversee the Affordable Care Act to waive or delay burdensome taxes, penalties and regulations could affect employer plans' mandates and fees, but won't do so immediately.

New Law Lets Small Employers Use Stand-Alone HRAs
Enactment of the 21st Century Cures Act lets small businesses use health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to fund employees who buy individual plans on the open market. 

IRS Delays Employers' Deadline to Distribute ACA Reporting Form 1095 to Employees
The IRS is giving employers an additional 30 days to distribute the Affordable Care Act's tax year 2016 information-reporting forms to employees, extending the deadline from Jan. 31, 2017, to March 2. But the due dates for filing Forms 1094 and 1095 with the IRS remain unchanged: Feb. 28 for paper/mail submissions or March 31 for electronic filing.

SHRM Resources

For additional information on implementing the Affordable Care Act, SHRM members can contact the SHRM Knowledge Center.

SHRM Government Affairs

Health Care Public Policy and Advocacy Updates

IRS

Types of Employer Payments Under ACA and How They Are Calculated

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