New Executive Order seeks to expand health insurance options

October 12, 2017 0 COMMENTS

After several failed legislative attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Donald Trump is now taking matters into his own hands.

On October 12, Trump signed a new Executive Order (EO) designed to “expand choices and alternatives to Obamacare plans and increase competition to bring down costs for consumers,” according to a White House press release.

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Senate issues revised version of ACA repeal-and-replace bill

July 13, 2017 0 COMMENTS

On July 13, the Senate released a revised version of its proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal-and-replace bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. The Senate has yet to vote on the original version.

The revised version of the bill includes a “consumer freedom” amendment to the ACA that would allow consumers to purchase lower-premium catastrophic plans with stripped-down coverage. The current law requires all plans to provide certain minimum essential health benefits. Detractors of the ACA believe the requirements drive up the cost of health care and force healthy people to enroll in plans that provide more coverage than they want.

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CBO: Senate GOP health bill cuts deficit, adds to uninsured

June 27, 2017 0 COMMENTS

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

The CBO and the JCT estimate that enacting the legislation would reduce the cumulative federal deficit by $321 billion from 2017 to 2026. That amount is $202 billion more than the estimated net savings from the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was passed by the House in May. The additional savings largely come from steeper reductions to Medicaid than those proposed by the House bill as well as changes to the current subsidies for nongroup health insurance provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Senate releases highly anticipated healthcare bill

June 22, 2017 0 COMMENTS

Update: On June 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a vote on the Senate bill will be delayed until after the July 4th recess.

Following the May passage in the House of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Senate has now released the text of its own draft ACA reform bill.

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Modified Obamacare replacement bill narrowly passes House

May 04, 2017 0 COMMENTS

In a squeaker of a vote, a modified version of the American Health Care Act passed the House 217-213 on May 4. The vote was cleanly split along party lines, with no Democrats supporting the legislation and 20 Republicans voting against it.

In March, the bill was pulled prior to a vote when it became apparent that it did not have enough support to pass. Since then, President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have been working within the GOP to generate support for the legislation and tweak it to satisfy disparate party factions.

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GOP ‘still has options’ after pulling ACA repeal bill

March 27, 2017 0 COMMENTS

On March 24, Republican lawmakers pulled their proposal to undo parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it became clear they didn’t have the necessary votes to pass the bill in the House.

The American Health Care Act would have, among other things, effectively voided the ACA’s employer mandate, which requires large employers to offer workers affordable health insurance. It also would have delayed the “Cadillac tax” on high-value health plans and made a few small changes to employer plans. Employers’ reporting requirements, however, generally would have remained. (For a full review of the bill’s provisions, see “ACA repeal proposal: Employer mandate gone, Cadillac tax remains.”)

Support for the bill dwindled as lawmakers tried to make concessions, according to Eric Schillinger, an associate at Trucker Huss and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider. Each time Republicans amended the bill to appease one group, they alienated another, creating a tug-of-war, he explained. Instead of allowing the bill to come up short on the House floor, Republicans pulled it to save face, he said.

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ACA repeal proposal: Employer mandate gone, Cadillac tax remains

March 07, 2017 0 COMMENTS

On March 6, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) released long-awaited proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a budget process known as reconciliation—a process that allows legislation to be passed with a simple majority in the Senate. The legislation is part of House Republicans’ American Health Care Act.

Employer and individual mandates gone . . . retroactively

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Employers get extension on some ACA reporting dates

January 06, 2016 0 COMMENTS

The IRS has announced that it has extended the deadline for employers subject to certain reporting requirements necessary under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

New deadlines have been set for employers subject to Sections 6055 and 6056 reporting requirements:End of the Month

  • The deadline for employers to furnish employees Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, has been extended to March 31. The previous deadline was February 1.
  • The deadline for filing Form 1094-B, Form 1095-B, Form 1094-C, and Form 1095-C with the IRS has been extended to May 31 for employers filing nonelectronically and to June 30 for employers filing electronically. (Employers filing 250 or more information returns are required to file electronically.)

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Obamacare ruling means little change for employers

June 25, 2015 0 COMMENTS

In a much-anticipated June 25 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory on his administration’s signature piece of legislation—the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the ruling was crucial to the future of the healthcare law, it basically means business as usual for employers.

The Court ruled 6-3 in King v. Burwell that federal tax credits to subsidize healthcare coverage are authorized under the ACA. Opponents of the law argued that it doesn’t authorize subsidies to individuals in states that don’t offer a state-run healthcare exchange. Thirty-four states have not set up exchanges, so individuals in those states turn to a federal government exchange.

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High court lets Hobby Lobby, others opt out of contraception coverage under ACA

June 30, 2014 3 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) again this term, and today, it held in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that the ACA’s contraceptive mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) as it is applied to “closely held corporations.” According to the Court’s 5-4 opinion, the mandate “substantially burdens the exercise of religion.”

Under the ACA (and related Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations), many health insurance plans must cover certain preventive services for women without cost sharing (e.g., coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles). These preventive services include contraceptive methods and counseling—or more specifically, “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”

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