When the planned House of Representatives vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was postponed on March 24, confirmation was given that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), generally known as Obamacare, was still the health care law to be followed.
About the AHCA
The AHCA is the Republican-sponsored legislation that was designed to start the process to repeal and replace the ACA. But, the vote delay, a path chosen when the necessary votes for passage of the AHCA could not be assured, may have sent a message that any plan for tax reform needs to be well thought out, discussed and modified accordingly before being placed on the agenda for a vote. Now that the ACA repeal and replace AHCA legislation has been placed in a holding period, more on tax reform will begin to unfold.
ACA Individual and Business Compliance
You may now be asking yourself, does the vote delay mean I should be doing something different related to health insurance for 2017?
The simple answer is no.
If you have signed up for health insurance as required by the ACA, you are good. If you haven't purchased health insurance, then the potential penalties under the ACA may apply.
Applicable large employers also still need to provide health insurance coverage as required by the ACA. To get a refresher on the required employer compliance requirements of the ACA click here.
It remains to be seen how the postponed AHCA vote will affect President Trump's executive order that was put in place on January 20, pending repeal of the ACA, which provided for easing "of any provision or requirement of the Act [ACA] that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products or medications," to the maximum extent permitted by law. Click here for more information.
ACA Moving Forward
Looking forward to 2018, things may change as health insurers need to decide this spring on providing health insurance via the exchange. Will the subsidies for individuals to purchase health insurance and better protection from losses created by high-risk participants come into higher focus and be required by health insurance providers to provide health insurance?
And, more current, how will not repealing and replacing the ACA fit into the work of the House Ways and Means Committee as it now moves forward with designing tax reform legislation? The AHCA carried certain tax changes that would have provided benefits to the structuring of tax reform, but with those benefits not now available, there is probability that the strength of tax reform, as has been planned, may need to be reduced to succeed.
If you have questions on the ACA requirements or the pending tax reform issues, please contact your Eide Bailly professional.