On his first day as President of the United States, Trump signed an executive order regarding the Affordable Care Act. The order did not repeal the act, nor did it refer to specific parts of the act. Nevertheless, it may have a major impact on health care in the country.

Trump’s executive order does three things:

  1. It grants executive heads of departments and agencies the authority to waive, defer, delay or grant exemptions to any parts of the Affordable Care Act that place a fiscal burden on states, insurers, health care providers or patients.
  2. It gives states more flexibility in carrying out health care programs.
  3. It states that a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act is coming.

What does the executive order mean for employers and benefit administrators?

Because the executive order does not repeal any section of the Affordable Care Act, it does not have a direct impact on the way employers or benefit administrators should conduct business.

Currently, the Affordable Care Act remains intact. Applicable Large Employers—those with at least 50 full-time equivalent employees—must provide affordable health insurance. Additionally, reporting via forms 1094 and 1095 remains mandatory. You can find more information on the required forms, including the due dates, here.

A replacement could be coming.

The Affordable Care Act is still the law for now. According to Wired, repealing the law will be a complicated process, although Republicans have already started work on a budget plan to defund it.  

A replacement is also coming, though this may not take effect until after the repeal. President Trump has not announced the replacement plan yet, but during an interview on NBC’s Sunday Today show, his adviser Kellyanne Conway said that it will include block grants for state Medicaid programs. Additionally, President Trump has expressed favorability toward coverage for pre-existing conditions and assurance that everybody will be covered. The Hill has a more detailed explanation of what President Trump has revealed about his possible replacement plan here.

After a long period of anticipation, developments in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act are now underway. However, we remain in state of “wait and see.” Specifically, we will need to wait and see how executive heads, especially the Secretary of Health and Human Services, interpret the executive order. We will also need to wait for the official repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the announcement of its replacement.

Until then, it’s business as usual for employers and benefit administrators.