After years of talk and months of debate, the replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been revealed. House speaker Paul Ryan unveiled the American Health Care Act on March 6th, 2017 and it is now a bill up for debate in Congress. While many people have waited in anticipation for the fate of the ACA to be made known, the proposed bill still has an approaching battle between both Democrat and Republican leaders before it becomes law.
The American Health Care Act is poised to change some of the ACA’s restrictions with the intent of turning control back to the state, insurance providers, and individuals. Some of the bigger changes to be aware of are a reform to the Medicaid program, introduction of the Patient and State Stability Fund, enhanced Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), refundable monthly tax credits, and elimination of costly insurance mandates.
While there will be differences from the ACA, the American Health Care Act will also retain some of the more popular parts of the ACA. The new bill carries the provision that insurance companies cannot discriminate an individual based on preexisting conditions and allows young adults to stay on a parent’s health plan until the age of 26. It will also keep the ACA’s Medicaid expansion until 2020 and the Cadillac Tax will remain to help with funding.
Employers should be aware of how the new bill could impact their organizations. Since the bill plans to remove the mandate for employers to provide coverage to full-time employees, employers are given the choice of whether or not to include health coverage in their benefits plans. Also, employer-provided coverage will continue to be exempt from taxation for both employees and employers.
Speaking in favor of the bill, Ryan stated that, “The American Health Care Act is a plan to drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance. It protects young adults, patients with pre-existing conditions, and provides a stable transition so that no one has the rug pulled out from under them.”
However, there are some Democrats and Republicans that stand opposed to the bill. Democrat representatives Frank Pallone and Richard Neale say it, “would rip health care away from millions of Americans, ration care for working families and seniors, and put insurance companies back in charge of health care decisions…”
Amidst all the debate, the new bill is set to appear before the House prior to April 7th. At this time none of the bill’s provisions should be relied upon. Check back with us at Zuman for future updates regarding the American Health Care Act.
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Andrew is a marketing Communications Specialist for Zuman, the one solution for HR, payroll, and benefits administration that supports growing small to midsize businesses.More Content by Andrew Larsen