On Monday, November 2, 2015, the President signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which included a provision that eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) Automatic Enrollment rules.
These rules were an original part of the ACA and technically had no delayed implementation date – that is to say they were originally effective for plan years beginning on or after March 23, 2010. They were intended to be a sort of “safety net” for employees who didn’t affirmatively enroll in coverage offered by the employer, but who also didn’t affirmatively waive that coverage. Employees in this scenario would be automatically enrolled in one of the employer’s health plan options. However, the various agencies in charge of implementing the ACA very quickly identified this rule as one that would need significant regulatory guidance and delayed the enforcement of this provision. The provision remained a low priority with the agencies and no further rules were every generated.
With the elimination of the automatic enrollment rules, there remain just two major parts of the ACA that have yet to be implemented – the fully-insured non-discrimination rules, and the tax on high-cost health care (known colloquially as the Cadillac tax). While the IRS is starting to seek public input on the Cadillac tax, very little has been said publicly about the non-discrimination rules. Assurance continues to monitor regulatory developments on these rules and will publish information as it becomes available.