ACA Trumped Webinar Q&A
Last week, I gave an important status update on the ACA during an Assurance University webinar. I discussed some of the changes made in the first few weeks of the Trump Presidency and how these changes affect you now, and what to look forward to in the coming months and years as we transition to new rules and regulations. The webinar brought up a lot of great questions, and we’re answering a few below.
1. Is the employer mandate going away?
It’s unknown at this time. The talk in DC is that it may, but there are many issues in repealing this requirement. We have to wait to see the totality of the replacement plan before we can say definitively whether the employer mandate goes away.
2. What’s the best website to check daily for new updates?
I monitor the whitehouse.gov channel on YouTube, plus the various congressional committee websites and YouTube channels. You can also subscribe to the Federal Register email service if you want to get regulation links sent to you on a daily basis. For news sources, I’ve found Politico.com and TheHill.com have pretty decent coverage of the Trump administration overall, but keep in mind the Trump administration is not treating – or using – the media in the same way past administrations have, so what you hear and read from any news service has to be taken with caution. We’ll continue to alert our clients of any pertinent ACA updates via Assurance’s LinkedIn and Twitter pages, as well as email updates, videos, blog posts, webinars…you name it.
3. Any predictions about the future of the affordability aspect of providing health insurance?
It’s likely the employer mandate will be relaxed to allow employers to offer less expensive plans, which should address the affordability requirement. For instance, it’s not out of the realm of possibility the employer mandate could remain, but employers would only be required to offer minimum essential coverage, instead of minimum value coverage. Again, it’s too early to tell – we have to wait to see what Congress settles on as a “replacement” before we can know for sure.
4. Are pre-existing conditions covered in all of the new proposals by the Republicans?
Yes – this is a political necessity at this point. However, the talk about pre-existing conditions is really all about how it’s handled in the individual market – employers have always been required to cover pre-existing conditions, even prior to the ACA. As we discussed, one aspect of the elimination or modification of the individual mandate would be the reinstatement of the creditable coverage rules that were in place prior to the enactment of the ACA, so we’ll have to see how that comes into play with respect to group plans.
5. There was indication that Congress will have to approve whatever plan Trump proposes. Please clarify.
The president, on his own, cannot pass any new laws without congressional approval. The ACA may have been something President Obama provided significant input on, but the law itself had to be originated, debated and marked up in Congress, then approved by both houses before the president could sign it into law. The same would apply to President Trump. He can certainly present a plan, but then someone in either the House or Senate would have to turn it into a proposed legislative action, and it would then have to go through that process before it can become law. The president cannot enact laws simply through executive orders.
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