On February 15, 2017, The Trump administration released separate announcements from Health and Human Services and the IRS regarding possible changes to the Affordable Care Act. It is important for us to emphasize that these are announcements and not actual changes that are happening yet. Legislatively, only Congress can approve changes to the ACA which puts us in a “wait-and-see” status.
The proposed changes are focused on the individual policy arena and not the employer arena. Some of the proposed changes are as follows:
- Sign-ups for individual policies would reduce from 3 months to 45 days.
- Increased scrutiny for those looking to purchase a plan outside of “open enrollment” due to a reported change in life circumstance (birth of a child, marriage, divorce).
- Allow insurers to offer higher deductible plans in an effort to lower premiums.
- The IRS will not reject any tax return if the individual fails to indicate if they do or don’t have health insurance. However, it is still a requirement and penalties still apply (for not having coverage).
These proposed changes are intended to help stabilize the individual insurance marketplace at a time when insurers are losing money and pulling out of most markets.
In a separate announcement, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said that the ACA is in a “Death Spiral” and that Aetna expects to lose $900 million on individual policies this year. Humana also announced they will exit the individual marketplace in 2018 (they cover about 150,000 individuals today).
To date there have not been any announcements regarding possible changes to the ACA that will impact employer plans and we suspect none are coming soon.
We will continue to monitor future announcements and encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding proposed changes and how they might impact your company.