No Vote - No Repeal of Obamacare
On September 26th 2017 Senator McConnell declined to hold a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill which would repeal and replace parts of The Affordable Care Act. The bill did not have the support needed to pass under reconciliation rules which expire on September 30th 2017.
What is next?
Prior to the vote a Senate formed committee HELP (Health, Education, labor and Pensions) held bipartisan hearings to discuss “actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen the under 65 health insurance market” for 2018. It is possible the bipartisan committee could resume efforts to achieve their goal.
The Republican leadership can also begin the reconciliation process over again for 2018 fiscal year. Starting the process over would require a 2018 budget resolution with the appropriate instructions for reconciliation to pass both chambers of the House and Senate. Then 2018 bills would be drafted and voted on in both chambers. An identical bill must bass both chambers before President Trump can sign it into law.
Alternatively Congress or the Administration may pursue other ways to dismantle, replace or reform the ACA including regulatory action, non-enforcement or other options.
In the meantime ACA Remains the Law of the Land
Ongoing compliance with the ACA is required unless and until official guidance to the contrary is issued.
2018 brings new challenges particularly for employer groups with the implementation of the Cadillac tax, HRA, HSA and FSA funding parameters and more.
We recommend individuals purchasing their own plans without a tax credit use the HC.gov website exemption tool to determine if they may qualify for an exemption from Obamacare for 2017. The exemption could avoid penalties for those that qualify. The 2018 tool will not be available until next year. Your tax advisor may be able to help you file the proper exemption form at tax time.
Insurance companies have until the end of the day today (September 27) to report their intention to stay in the market for 2018 and if they are going to insure what they will be filing for 2018 rates. Florida already has projected a 45 percent rate increase of this years rates in 2018 for under age 65 health insurance plans.
Open enrollment for 2018 is drastically shortened to November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.