In January, President Trump signed Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal. The consequences of the executive order, which asked department heads to reduce financial and regulatory burdens, to give states more flexibility and to encourage health care commerce between states, were not known immediately. Since then, however, several new developments have occurred.

The IRS Responds

The IRS responded to the executive order by announcing that it will accept individual tax returns that do not mention 2016 health insurance coverage. As Forbes explains, this means that individuals who do not tick the box on line 61 to show that they had coverage all year will still be able to submit their returns and have their refunds processed. Although this appears to be a way of avoiding the shared responsibility fee, it may only do so temporarily, as the IRS reserves the right to follow up. Instead, it may simply be a way for individuals to delay addressing the issue without delaying their refund.

CMS Responds

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed new rules for the individual insurance exchanges. Business Insider reports that the two most notable changes involve shortening the open enrollment period and allowing plans with lower standards to participate on the exchange. The rule would also give insurers more time to make changes to their 2018 offerings, and make it harder for individuals to qualify for special enrollment periods.

Republicans Announce Plan

After much speculation, Republicans released the American Health Care Act, a bill designed to replace the Affordable Care Act. The Insurance Journal provides a summary of the act, which repeals penalties for individuals who do not obtain coverage and for businesses that do not offer coverage. It also repeals various taxes and changes the way tax credits are calculated.

Critics Respond

Immediately after the American Health Care Act was proposed, a backlash began. Criticism from Democrats was expected, but PBS News reports that the bill also received strong criticism from conservative Republicans and medical groups.

Compare for Yourself

While the fight over a repeal and replacement continues, Kaiser Family Foundation has an online tool that makes it easy to compare various health care plans, including the newly introduced American Health Care Act, the Affordable Care Act and other prominent proposals. 

As always, Travisoft is your benefit administration resource. As new legislation unfolds, Travisoft tools with keep you up-to-date and compliant. If you’re not using Travisoft yet, now is great time to request a demo. Having the right benefit administration software could make your HR team’s job much easier in the months to come.

*This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.