- Posted by Jessica Waltman
- On March 17, 2017
Formal work on national health care reform is well underway now that the congressional leadership of the Republican Party has released draft legislation to replace parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Health policy ideas are flying around Washington, DC, and in the news there is a tremendous amount of chatter and speculation about what is or might be happening. Here at Kistler Tiffany Benefits, we want to cut through that noise and serve as a factual resource regarding any developments that will impact group health insurance plans or other employee benefit offerings.
The proposal recently advanced by the GOP leadership would not fully repeal the ACA; rather it would repeal some provisions and modify others. Titled the American Health Care Act (AHCA), it would aim to alter the benefit landscape by repealing the individual and employer mandates to buy and offer coverage and a reduction of the employer reporting burden. The new bill would keep popular ACA reforms like guaranteed issue of coverage, the ban on lifetime and annual benefit limits, and the option for dependent children to remain on a parent’s plan till age 26. To incent continuous health insurance coverage amongst all Americans, the bill proposes a 30% premium surcharge for people who experience a greater than 63-day break in coverage. Almost all new taxes and fees imposed by the ACA would be phased out quickly, but the “Cadillac Tax”, an excise tax on high-cost employer plans, would remain with a delayed implementation date of 2025. Health savings account options would be expanded. Market reforms that have affected individuals and small employers (i.e. plan design restrictions and age rating requirements) would likely be amended. For purchasers of individual coverage and unsubsidized COBRA benefits, a new tax credit plan is being advanced. The bill also proposes substantial cuts to Medicaid that would be gradually implemented over the coming years.
To read more about the AHCA, please click here.
By Jessica Waltman, Special Contributor
Jessica Waltman is a health reform strategist, with more than 20 years of experience in health insurance markets and health policy. She is the former Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, for the National Association of Health Underwriters.