Legal Alert – President Trump Issues Executive Order on ACA, Separately Attempts to End Cost-Sharing Payments to Insurers

On October 12th, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the federal agencies in charge of implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to propose new regulations or revise existing guidance to expand access to association health plans (AHPs), short-term insurance plans, and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). While the order directs the agencies to consider changes that would have a sweeping effect on the health insurance industry, it has no immediate effect – any changes in rules or regulations will be subject to standard notice and comment periods.

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Legal Alert – Trump Administration Releases Guidance on ACA’s Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

On October 6, 2017, The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor (the “Departments”) released interim final regulations allowing employers and insurance companies to decline to cover contraceptives under their health plans based on a religious or moral objection. The new rules, which are effective immediately, scale back Obama-era regulations under the Affordable Care Act that require non-grandfathered group health plans to cover women’s contraceptives with no cost-sharing, with limited exceptions for non-profit religious organizations or closely-held for-profit entities.

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Legal Alert – Court Requires EEOC to Substantiate 30% Limit on Wellness Program Incentives

On August 22, 2017, a federal court in the District of Columbia ordered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reconsider the limits it placed on wellness program incentives under final regulations the agency issued last year under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). As part of the final regulations, the EEOC set a limit on incentives under wellness programs equal to 30% of the total cost of self-
only coverage under the employer’s group health plan. The court found that the EEOC did not properly consider whether the 30% limit on incentives would ensure the program remained “voluntary” as required by the ADA and GINA and sent the regulations back to the EEOC for reconsideration.

For more information, click HERE to read this important legal alert.

Legal Alert – Senate Republicans Release Updated Discussion Draft of ACA Repeal Bill

The Senate originally released their healthcare legislation,
called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), on June 22nd in response to the House of Representatives’ version, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was passed by the House on May 4th. On July 13, 2017 the Senate released another updated Discussion Draft of the BCRA in hopes of gaining enough support by swing vote senators to pass the BCRA by a simple majority vote through the budget reconciliation process. The July 13 Discussion Draft largely mirrors the previous draft BCRA. Its primary revisions are unlikely to have a significant impact on employer-sponsored group health plan coverage but include allowing people to use health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for individual marketplace coverage when premiums exceed tax credits and maintaining the 3.8% net investment income tax and 0.9% Medicare payroll tax on high-wage earners. Employers should maintain Affordable Care Act compliance as the legislative process continues. This Legal Alert features a comparison chart of the current ACA, House AHCA, and updated Senate Discussion Draft of the BCRA.

For more information, click HERE to read this important legal alert.