Talk of repealing the ACA has taken a backseat to tax reform, the budget and the government shutdown. Nevertheless, there have still been some important developments. Here are the latest news stories you need to know.
The tax bill will impact health insurance. The Republican tax reform bill was signed into law in December, bringing about many changes to the tax code and undoing the individual mandate. The New York Business Journal summarizes key points for employers, including the repeal of the individual mandate, a tax credit that employers can claim when employees take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the elimination of deductions for employee commuting and parking benefits.
Five bills would delay ACA taxes. In December, Republicans introduced five bills designed to provide relief from ACA taxes, including the Cadillac tax and the tax on medical devices. One bill, H.R. 4616, would also provide four years of relief (three retroactive and one prospective) from the employer mandate. Americans for Tax Reform reports that 23 conservative groups, including Americans for Tax Reform, have written an open letter in support of the tax relief bills.
Health care costs continue to rise. According to the Washington Post, large employers are expecting to pay an average of more than $14,000 per employee on health care in 2018. This is an increase of 5 percent. Employees are expected to pay an average of $4,400, and high deductible plans are becoming increasingly common.
Proposed rules open door to association health plans. In early January, the Department of Labor released proposed rules that would facilitate the adoption of association health plans. According to Kaiser Health News, supporters say it will help small businesses find affordable plans, while critics worry it will leave consumers without enough protection.
Financial wellness benefits are expected to take off. There’s been a lot of talk about financial wellness benefits recently, and this talk may turn into action in 2018. According to PlanSponsor, Elizabeth Halkos, the CEO of Purchasing Power, says that many employees are eager to participate in financial wellness programs, and predicts that employers will start offering them in greater numbers this year.
Many employees don’t receive any benefits. While some employers are adding new benefits to those already offered, other employers don’t offer anything. According to Markets Insider, a survey from Clutch revealed that one-quarter of full-time employees do not receive any benefits, including health insurance and retirement savings plans. The survey also found that these benefits have a significant impact on job satisfaction.