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. After GOP leaders initially withdrew the bill during a House vote on March 24, the House pass their legislation on May 4 and the measure was moved to the Senate, which could significantly alter the bill.

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

Survey: Benefits Eligibility Might Be Modified if ACA Repealed
Approximately 1 in 5 employers (20 percent) anticipate modifying eligibility requirements for health care coverage if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed.

Rising Health Benefit Costs Still Outpace Overall Inflation
The pace of the rising health plan costs for U.S. employers, having slowed last year, looks to be leveling off at about 7.5 percent for 2017. With plan design changes, most employers will see increases closer to 5 percent this year, insurers say.

IRS Sets 2018 HSA Contribution Limits
Next year, the amounts that employees can contribute to their health savings account (HSA) will Employers should consider these limits when planning for the 2018 benefit plan year and should review plan communications to ensure that the appropriate limits are reflected 

Health Care Repeal: What Should Employers Expect?
Now that efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are advancing on Capitol Hill, it may be time for HR practitioners to refresh their memories about what health care was like before the law and learn how the American Health Care Act might change the ACA. 

House Passes GOP Health Care Bill; Now What?
Now that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the GOP's revised American Health Care Act, it faces a drastic makeover in the Senate. As it currently stands, here's what the bill portends for employer-sponsored group health plans.

Employer Shared Responsibility: Have Penalties Been—or Will Penalties Ever Be—Assessed?
It's unclear whether, to date, any Affordable Care Act employer shared responsibility penalties and penalties for failure to timely (and correctly) file 2016 Form 1095-C information returns have been assessed by the IRS. That doesn't mean they won't be.

House GOP Revives Health Care Reconciliation Bill; Amendment Offered Providing States Flexibility
The amended American Health Care Act would give states the flexibility to apply for waivers from certain requirements imposed on individual market plans and group plans offered by small employers. One waiver would allow states to opt out of mandating that insurers cover 10 essential health benefits in health care plans.

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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