President Signs Executive Order Designed to Change ACA Rules

President Signs Executive Order Designed to Change ACA Rules

On Oct. 12, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order intended to change certain rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The order would relax regulations on association health plans. This change could allow individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance policies across state lines and avoid certain ACA requirements.

The executive order also directs the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (Departments) to consider expanding the availability of low-cost short-term, limited-duration insurance and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). (more…)

White House Announces ACA Subsidies Will End

White House Announces ACA Subsidies Will End

On Oct. 12, 2017, the White House announced that it will no longer reimburse insurers for cost-sharing reductions made available to low-income individuals through the Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), effective immediately. Because Congress did not pass an appropriation for this expense, the Trump administration has taken the position that it cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments.

This decision follows the U.S. House of Representatives’ position in a lawsuit it filed against the Obama administration in 2014 challenging the federal government’s authority to fund these cost-sharing reductions. (more…)

Court Orders EEOC to Reconsider Wellness Rules

Court Orders EEOC to Reconsider Wellness Rules

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a ruling affecting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) final wellness rules. In AARP v. EEOC, the court directed the EEOC to reconsider its final wellness rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

The final rules allow employers to offer wellness incentives of up to 30 percent of the cost of health plan coverage. The court held that the EEOC failed to provide a reasoned explanation for adopting the incentive limit. Rather than vacating the final rules, the court sent them back to the EEOC for reconsideration. (more…)

Senate Rejects Efforts to Repeal the ACA

Senate Rejects Efforts to Repeal the ACA

OVERVIEW

In the early morning hours of July 28, 2017, members of the U.S. Senate voted 49-51 to reject a “skinny” version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA).

This was the final vote of the Senate’s 20-hour debate period, and effectively ends the Republicans’ current efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. However, the skinny repeal bill may be reintroduced at some point in the future. (more…)

IRS Announces HSA/HDHP Limits for 2018

IRS Announces HSA/HDHP Limits for 2018

OVERVIEW

On May 5, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Revenue Procedure 2017-37 to announce the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) for 2018. These limits include:

  • The maximum HSA contribution limit;
  • The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs; and
  • The maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for HDHPs.

These limits vary based on whether an individual has self-only or family coverage under an HDHP.

The IRS limits for HSA contributions and HDHP cost-sharing will all increase for 2018. The HSA contribution limits will increase effective Jan. 1, 2018, while the HDHP limits will increase effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2018. (more…)

House Republicans Pass Amended AHCA

House Republicans Pass Amended AHCA

OVERVIEW

On May 4, 2017, members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 217-213 to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), after it had been amended several times. The AHCA is the proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The AHCA needed 216 votes to pass in the House. Ultimately, it passed on a party-line vote, with 217 Republicans and no Democrats voting in favor of the legislation. The AHCA will only need a simple majority vote in the Senate to pass.

If it passes both the House and the Senate, the AHCA would then go to President Donald Trump to be signed into law. (more…)