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While Republicans are working quickly to repeal and replace all or some of Obamacare, it’s still not clear how much of it will go, when it will go and what it will be replaced by. This leaves insurers and human resources in a bit of a pickle: how can we plan for the year when we don’t really know what’s coming? So for this week I’ve gathered five pieces to help us shed a light on what may be coming and what it means for us.
Here is your Friday Five:
SHRM gathered several experts to discuss the coming ACA repeal. Most say that it will be piecemeal and partial and that we’ll have the full picture of what’s set to replace it by April.
One way to better understand how new healthcare legislation will impact HR and other business leaders is by better understanding how it will impact the healthcare industry. This piece looks at the affect of repeal, replace and delay on insurers and healthcare providers.
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In keeping with our previous read, I thought it would be worthwhile to get an insurer’s perspective on how ACA repeal will affect their business. J.B. Silvers stresses that uncertainty is likely to encourage insurers to withdraw from ACA exchanges and other potentially losing markets. Whether ACA is repealed in part or whole, he says, a firm and clearly communicated plan is what’s needed now.
Stand-alone HRAs for for employers with fewer than 50 employees are back thanks to the 21st Century Cures Act. But there are a few differences:
“There’s a new limit to annual employer contributions: $4,950 for employee-only coverage and $10,000 for family coverage. Only employers—not employees—can contribute to the accounts. Employees can use the HRA money to pay for insurance premiums or doctors’ bills. A few warnings: Employees participating in a small business HRA can access the ACA premium tax credit, but the amount of the credit will be reduced dollar for dollar by the HRA amount.”
HRAs were banned in 2013 under the Affordable Care Act.
This is an older read, from early in December, but its suggestion that HR and other business leaders keep staying the course is still a good one. Until we know the details of how and when the ACA will be repealed and replaced, there is little we can do. Consider a variety of possibilities — total or partial, quick or slow replacement — but continue to comply with existing regulations and show confidence to your employees that no matter what healthcare legislation is rolled out in 2017, you’ve got things well in hand.
See you next Friday! (Maybe by then we’ll know what’s what with the ACA.)