Compliance

Health Care Reform Legislation Ran out of Time. What’s Next?

The latest bill to repeal and replace the ACA did not reach a vote, and for now all its employer obligations remain in place. However, changes are still in the works.

Keeping up with the legislative Affordable Care Act (ACA) activity is tough for anyone. When it’s part of your job and impacts your company, it can be daunting. Most recently, the Senate’s efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, the Graham-Cassidy bill, was not put to a vote. While Republican congressional leaders had hoped to secure a majority of 51 votes, three Republican senators publicly announced their opposition. That doesn’t mean that Republican senators are conceding their efforts to repeal and replace the ACA.

While Republican leaders are signaling that for now they will be focused on tax reform, there is still ACA action in the form of some bipartisanship. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democratic Senator Patty Murray have been working together to pass a bill that will keep federal-cost sharing payments in place. The subsidies enable insurance companies to reduce premiums for lower- and middle-income Americans. After the collapse of the Graham-Cassidy bill, they are now working to shore up support on both sides of the aisle for their bill.

In addition to Senator Murray and Alexander’s efforts, Health Care Reform activity will continue in other ways such as regulations, other forms of legislation and executive action. The Trump administration has already made significant cuts to the “navigator” program which funds community group to guide people through the online signing up process. The administration has also cut funds for advertising open enrollment for the ACA from $100 million to $10 million. Also, the window for open enrollment has been reduced both for when it starts and when it ends.

What does this mean for you?

Basically, for now, the ACA and the obligations it poses for employers remain in place. Senior-level financial executives should be taking steps to insure that their companies’ health care plans meet The Employer Shared Responsibility Provision of the Affordable Care Act. The provision “penalizes employers who either do not offer coverage or do not offer coverage which meets minimum value and affordability standards.  These penalties apply to firms with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees.” Additionally, employers with 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees should be on track to complete their 2017 ACA annual reporting–with IRS deadline fast approaching.

We’re on it

Because of the continued ACA action both in Congress and in the executive branch, ADP is committed to keeping you informed. We will continue to closely monitor any state-related Health Care Reform efforts that may affect employers.

In the meantime, test your knowledge of ACA-related compliance and news by taking this Health Compliance Quiz.

For more information about the recent ACA-related activity, read our blog post “Health Care Legislation Didn’t Fit the Bill.”