Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Obamacare Repeal And Negotiations Underway






From The House Ways and Means Committee   3-6-2017



SUBTITLE _ REPEAL AND REPLACE OF HEALTH-RELATED TAX POLICY

SECTION _01: RECAPTURE EXCESS ADVANCE PAYMENTS OF PREMIUM TAX CREDITS
The amount a household is required to pay towards their premiums is based on income. If a household’s income increases during the tax year, excess premium tax credits may result. Under current law, for households with incomes less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level there are certain limits on the amount the household is required to repay the federal government for the excess premium tax credits. For tax years 2018 and 2019, this section requires any individual who was overpaid in premium tax credits to repay the entire excess amount, regardless of income.

SECTION_02: ADDITIONAL MODIFICATIONS TO PREMIUM TAX CREDIT
Under current law, qualified health plans must meet certain requirements for households to be eligible for the premium tax credit. This section amends those requirements to make available premium tax credits for the purchase of “catastrophic-only” qualified health plans and certain qualified plans not offered through an Exchange. Additionally, this section prohibits premium tax credits from being used to purchase plans that offer elective abortion coverage. Lastly, this section revises the schedule under which an individual’s or family’s share of premiums is determined by adjusting for household income and the age of the individual or family members.

SECTION_03: PREMIUM TAX CREDIT
This section repeals Obamacare’s premium tax credit beginning in 2020. SECTION_04: SMALL 

BUSINESS TAX CREDIT
This section repeals Obamacare’s small business tax credit beginning in 2020. Between 2018 and 2020, under the proposal, the small business tax credit generally is not available with respect to a qualified health plan that provides coverage relating to elective abortions.

SECTION_05: INDIVIDUAL MANDATE
Under current law, most individuals are required to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. This section would reduce the penalty to zero for failure to maintain minimum essential coverage; effectively repealing the individual mandate. The effective date would apply for months beginning after December 31, 2015, providing retroactive relief to those impacted by the penalty in 2016.

SECTION_06: EMPLOYER MANDATE
Under current law, certain employers are required to provide health insurance or pay a penalty. This section would reduce the penalty to zero for failure to provide minimum essential coverage; effectively
repealing the employer mandate. The effective date would apply for months beginning after December 31, 2015, providing retroactive relief to those impacted by the penalty in 2016.

SECTION_07: REPEAL OF THE TAX ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS AND HEALTH PLAN BENEFITS
Obamacare imposed a 40 percent excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage, also known as Cadillac plans. Under current law, the tax will go into effect in 2020. This section changes the effective date of the tax. It will not apply for any taxable period beginning after December 31, 2019, and before January 1, 2025. Thus, the tax will apply only for taxable periods beginning after December 31, 2024.

SECTION_08: REPEAL OF THE TAX ON OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS
Under current law, taxpayers may use several different types of tax-advantaged health savings accounts to help pay or be reimbursed for qualified medical expenses. Obamacare excluded over-the- counter medications from the definition of qualified medical expenses. This section effectively repeals the Obamacare tax on over-the-counter medications. The effective date begins tax year 2018.

SECTION_09: REPEAL OF INCREASE OF TAX ON HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
Distributions from an HSA or Archer MSA that are used for qualified medical expenses are excludible from gross income. Distributions that are not used for qualified medical expenses are includible in income and are generally subject to an additional tax. Obamacare increased the percentage of the tax on distributions that are not used for qualified medical expenses to 20 percent. This section lowers the rate to pre-Obamacare percentages. This change is effective for distributions after December 31, 2017.

SECTION_10: REPEAL OF LIMITATIONS ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO FLEXIBLE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
Obamacare limits the amount an employer or individual may contribute to a health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to $2,500, indexed for cost-of-living adjustments. This section repeals the limitation on health FSA contributions for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.

SECTION_11: REPEAL OF MEDICAL DEVICE TAX
Obamacare created a new 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of certain medical devices. This section repeals the medical device tax beginning after December 31, 2017.

SECTION_12: REPEAL OF ELIMINATION OF DEDUCTION FOR EXPENSES ALLOCABLE TO MEDICARE PART D SUBSIDY
Prior to Obamacare, as an incentive for employers to offer retiree drug coverage, employers who offered sufficient prescription drug coverage to their employees qualified for the Retiree Drug Subsidy to help cover actual spending for prescription drug costs. Obamacare eliminated the ability for employers to take a tax deduction on the value of this subsidy. This section repeals this Obamacare change and re-instates the business-expense deduction for retiree prescription drug costs without
Prepared by the Committee on Ways and Means Majority Staff March 6, 2017
reduction by the amount of any federal subsidy. This section applies to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.

SECTION_13: REPEAL OF INCREASE IN INCOME THRESHOLD FOR MEDICAL EXPENSE DEDUCTION
Taxpayers who itemize their deductions may deduct qualifying medical expenses. The medical-expense deduction may be claimed only for expenses that exceed a certain percentage of the taxpayer’s adjustment gross income (AGI). Obamacare increased the AGI percentage threshold from 7.5 percent to 10 percent if the taxpayer or spouse was aged 65 or older. This section restores the pre-Obamacare AGI percentage threshold to 7.5-percent for all taxpayers beginning in 2018 and extends the special rule for those aged 65 or older through this year.

SECTION_14: REPEAL OF MEDICARE TAX INCREASE
Obamacare imposed a Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) surtax based on income at a rate equal to 0.9 percent of an employee’s wages or a self-employed individual’s self-employment income. This section repeals the additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax beginning in 2018.

SECTION_15: REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT FOR HEALTH INSURANCE
This section creates an advanceable, refundable tax credit for the purchase of state-approved, major medical health insurance and unsubsidized COBRA coverage. To be eligible, generally, an individual must not have access to government health insurance programs or an offer from any employer; and be a citizen, national or qualified alien of the United States, and not incarcerated. The credits are adjusted by age:
  • Under age 30: $2,000
  • Between 30 and 39: $2,500
  • Between 40 and 49: $3,000
  • Between 50 and 59: $3,500
  • Over age 60: $4,000
    The credits are additive for a family and capped at $14,000. The credits grow over time by CPI+1. The credits are available in full to those making $75,000 per year ($150,000 joint filers). The credit phases out by $100 for every $1,000 in income higher than those thresholds.
    The Secretary of the Treasury is empowered to create a systembuilding upon already developed systemsto deliver the credit. Eligibility determinations will continue to be conducted by the federal government, while insurers and licensed agents and brokers will be able to do more of the consumer- facing actions currently performed in 39 states by healthcare.gov.
    The program also calls for simplified reporting of an offer of coverage on the W-2 by employers. Reconciliation rules limit the ability of Congress to repeal the current reporting, but, when the current reporting becomes redundant and replaced by the reporting mechanism called for in the bill, then the Secretary of the Treasury can stop enforcing reporting that is not needed for taxable purposes.
Prepared by the Committee on Ways and Means Majority Staff March 6, 2017

SECTION_16: MAXIMUM CONTRIBUTION LIMIT TO HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT INCREASED TO AMOUNT OF DEDUCTIBLE AND OUT-OF-POCKET LIMITATION
This section increases the basic limit on aggregate Health Savings Account contributions for a year to equal the maximum on the sum of the annual deductible and out-of-pocket expenses permitted under a high deductible health plan. Thus, the basic limit will be at least $6,550 in the case of self-only coverage and $13,100 in the case of family coverage beginning in 2018.

SECTION_17: ALLOW BOTH SPOUSES TO MAKE CATCH-UP CONTRIBUTIONS
This section would effectively allow both spouses to make catch-up contributions to one HSA beginning in 2018.

SECTION_18: SPECIAL RULE FOR CERTAIN MEDICAL EXPENSES INCURRED BEFORE ESTABLISHMENT OF HSA
This section sets forth certain circumstances under which HSA withdrawals can be used to pay qualified medical expenses incurred before the HSA was established. Starting in 2018, if an HSA is established during the 60-day period beginning on the date that an individual’s coverage under a high deductible health plan begins, then the HSA is treated as having been established on the date coverage under the high deductible health plan begins for purposes of determining if an expense incurred is a qualified medical expense.

SUBTITLE _ REPEAL OF TANNING TAX
SECTION _01: REPEAL OF TANNING TAX
Obamacare imposed a 10 percent sales tax on indoor tanning services. This section repeals the tanning tax starting in 2018.

SUBTITLE _ REPEAL OF NET INVESTMENT TAX
SECTION _01: REPEAL OF NET INVESTMENT TAX
Obamacare imposed a net investment tax, applying a rate of 3.8 percent to certain net investment income of individuals, estates, and trusts with income above certain amounts. This section repeals the net investment tax starting in 2018.

SUBTITLE _ REMUNERATION FROM CERTAIN INSURERS
SECTION _01: REMUNERATION FROM CERTAIN INSURERS
Generally, employers may deduct the remuneration paid to employees as “ordinary and necessary” business expenses. Obamacare added a limitation for certain health insurance providers that exceeds $500,000 paid to an officer, director, or employee. This section repeals the limit on the deduction of a covered health insurance provider for compensation attributable to services performed by an applicable individual starting in 2018.
Prepared by the Committee on Ways and Means Majority Staff March 6, 2017


SUBTITLE _ REPEAL AND REPLACE OF CERTAIN CONSUMER TAXES
SECTION_01: REPEAL OF TAX ON PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS
Obamacare imposed an annual fee on certain brand pharmaceutical manufacturers. This section repeals the tax on brand pharmaceutical manufacturers such that the it would not apply for years beginning after December 31, 2017.

SECTION_02: REPEAL OF HEALTH INSURANCE TAX
Obamacare imposed an annual fee on certain health insurers. The proposal repeals the health insurance tax beginning after December 31, 2017.
Prepared by the Committee on Ways and Means Majority Staff March 6, 2017 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Changes Coming To Obamacare And Medicare Soon!

By Coleen Elkins   24-7 Health Insurance 




The Committee On Ways And Means Published an Update On The Repeal Of Obamacare Today. February 16th 2017


In the coming weeks, Ways and Means will advance solutions that will:

Deliver relief from the Obamacare taxes and mandates that have hurt job creators, increased premium costs, and limited options for patients and health care providers. This includes eliminating the individual and employer mandate penalties, which forced millions of workers, families, and job creators into expensive, inadequate Obamacare plans that they don’t want and cannot afford.

Enhance Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) by empowering individuals and families to spend their health care dollars the way they want and need—not the way Washington prescribes. For example, our proposal increases the amount of money an individual or family can put into their HSA, and allows individuals and families to spend money from their HSA on “over-the-counter” health care items.

Provide all Americans access to portable, monthly tax credits that they can use to buy a health insurance plan that’s right for them—not one tied to a job or a government-mandated program. The credits—which are advanceable and refundable— are based on age, so as individuals’ health needs evolve over time, so will their monthly, portable tax credit. The credits can travel with them from job to job, state to state, home to start a business or raise a family, and even into retirement.

Please take the time to read the publication in its entirety here:

RE: MEDICARE:

In the coming weeks will also be we will be providing our Medicare clients with updates regarding Medicare for 2017 and beyond.  This includes plans to strengthen the doctor patient relationship with less intervention from Medicare. 

The Committee On Ways And Means Published an Update On Medicare February 2, 2017.

“I’m pleased to see the Trump Administration is stepping away from the last Administration’s disruptive Medicare policies,” Chairman Brady said. “Many of these policies would have jeopardized the quality and affordability of care our seniors rely on and enjoy. I look forward to further reviewing CMS’ new proposal and working with our new Administration to strengthen these two popular programs so Medicare beneficiaries have the health care choices and peace of mind they deserve.”  

Please take the time to read publication in its entirety here.



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Update Repealing Obamacare

By Coleen Elkins      24-7 Health Insurance

There is so much in the news this past week it may seem the repeal of Obamacare has gotten lost in the shuffle.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas says expect action by the end of March.

The word "repair" used by Congress is referencing the insurance industry not Obamacare.





Read More:

"I know a lot of conservatives are getting nervous that the GOP is losing its nerve on ObamaCare repeal-and-replace. I think it's just the nature of the 24-hour news cycle these days".
Hey, we haven't heard anything about repealing ObamaCare this week. It's doomed!
Relax. You didn't hear much about it because everyone's been hyperventilating about the immigration order, Judge Gorsuch and Betsy DeVos, but just this week the House Energy and Commerce Commitee has been working on fine-tuning its approach to replacing the failed law:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

President Trumps 1st Executive Order Obamacare

By Coleen Elkins       24-7 Health Insurance 


On his first day in office President Donald Trump's first Executive Order tells agencies to "ease burden of Obamacare". 

To Quote a FOX News Article.

The order, which noted that Trump intends to seek the law's "prompt repeal," directs agencies to "minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens [of ObamaCare] and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market." It also tells agencies to waive, defer or delay imposing any ObamaCare provisions that impose fiscal penalties on states, health care providers, families or individuals. {end quote}

This would include the IRS imposing penalties. We expect legislatures to move quickly on this Executive Order and proceed with a "prompt repeal" of the law. 

You can read more here

We promise to keep you updated as the repeal moves forward. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Obamacare Repeal Process Has Begun

By Coleen Elkins      24-7 Health Insurance







On January 3rd 2017 the 115 Congress was sworn in. Shortly after the swearing in Republican U.S. Senator Mike Enzi introduced a resolution allowing the repeal of Obamacare.

Using a budget resolution to get the wheels in motion only requires a simply majority vote to pass in the Senate.  This was the same method Democrats used to pass the law in 2010.

A Senate vote on the resolution could come as early as next week. Action from the House of Representative will follow and is expected to be swift. Committees have been instructed to dismantle the law and report back to the budget committee by January 27th. This process puts the bill for signature on President Donald Trumps desk.

We promise to keep you updated as the repeal progresses. Once the mandate is lifted and the penalty is removed it frees Americans to return to purchasing health insurance plans that meet their personal needs. This will include affordable catastrophic coverage if that is what you wish to purchase. Health insurance companies are already preparing for the changes.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Do Tax Payers Have An Extra $9.8 Billion To Spare?

By Coleen Elkins     24-7 Health Insurance






House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promises to begin the repeal of Obamacare on January 3, 2017. The healthcare law was previously repealed by the House and the Senate in December of 2015, but vetoed by President Obama. Legislators can use the prior bill to move forward with some modifications to improve it. Many upcoming changes can occur on January 20th 2017 with the stroke of a pen. 

In the meantime Healthcare.gov is moving forward with enrollments as if nothing is looming in the future of Obamacare. 

The cost for subsidies has now has risen $9.8 Billion. This $9.8 Billion will be added to the current $32.8 billion making the total paid by the tax payers for 2017 $42.6 billion. 

Why the increase you ask? Because premiums have risen to 60 percent in many states and in the case of Arizona 116 percent for 2017. The benchmark to raise subsidies is based on the average premiums of the second highest cost Silver Plan. 

To make matters worse health insurance companies committed to insure those with subsidies are also receiving some grim news. New reporting from the Washington Post tells us health insurers which offer plans through Affordable Care Act marketplaces “are being paid less than 2 percent of nearly $6 billion the government owes them for covering customers last year with unexpectedly high medical expenses.” The article says the $96 million which insurance companies will receive “is just one-fourth of the sum that provoked an industry outcry a year ago, when federal health officials announced that they had enough money to pay health plans only 12.6 percent of what the law entitles them to receive.” The piece adds that CMS simply posted an online notice last month with this information, instead of making an announcement about the risk-corridors program as it did last year. The Post also points out that this “extreme scarcity of 2015 money is the latest chapter for a problem-ridden part of the ACA designed to cushion insurers from high-cost customers.”

Positive change is on the horizon for insuring America's health. We are staying on top of all the legislative issues to keep you informed.

Please visit our website www.24-7healthinsurance.com and click on the "Blog" tab often or subscribe to our blog to receive news automatically. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Insurers Are Working With Congress On The Repeal Of Obamacare

By Coleen Elkins   24-7 Health Insurance

The incoming administration and Congress are working with health insurers to make sure Americans are not impacted by the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. 

Insurers have said they are willing to give up the individual mandate to purchase health insurance if other rules and provisions are put into place to protect them from "adverse selection". 

As 24-7 Health Insurance attends webinars and speaks with insurance carriers we are hearing a very positive tone about the future of health insurance in America and shorter timelines than mentioned in the article for replacement plans. 

We believe the Trump Administration will use both the regulatory process and Executive Action to begin the repeal process immediately. This could lift the mandate and the penalties for not purchase an ACA compatible plan. 

From Bloomberg News:

Known as the “individual mandate,” the rule was a major priority for the insurance industry when the Affordable Care Act was legislated, and also became a focal point of opposition for Republicans. In a position paper released Tuesday -- the first since President-elect Donald Trump’s victory -- health insurers laid out changes they’d be willing to accept.
“Replacing the individual mandate with strong, effective incentives, such as late enrollment penalties and waiting periods, can help expand coverage and lower costs for everyone,” AHIP said.

You can read the entire article here: 

Health Insurers Will To Give Up A Key Obamacare Provision

We are licensed in 11 states. We look forward to being of service for all your health insurance and Medicare needs!

Sincerely,

Coleen Elkins
24-7 Health Insurance