Jun 21, 2018

Excited About Association Health Plans?

Association Health Plans

Not So Fast, Says New York and Massachusetts Many commentators and businesses welcomed the new final regulations on association health plans (AHPs) released by the US. Department of Labor (DOL) on Tuesday, (see here and here). The new rules allow small businesses and self-employed individuals to band together to purchase health insurance, even across state lines. This insurance potentially is more cost-effective than the current Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace policies, and the policies offered to the small group and individual markets.  These policies may be less expensive because the AHPs are not required to provide all of the essential benefits required under the… Read more


Jun 20, 2018

Association Health Plans Reinvigorated-New Options for Many Employers

White House: Executive Order Reinvigorates Association Health Plans

Association Health Plans have been reinvigorated by the new regulations released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). As I mentioned in my blog entry yesterday, these regulations are the result of President Trump’s executive order last year instructing the DOL to allow for more flexibility related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and health insurance. As we are parsing the 198 pages of comments and final regulations, it is clear that the final regulations loosen many restrictions on “association health plans” (AHPs). Now, more small businesses, including self-employed (sole proprietors) employers, can either become members of, or even establish… Read more


Jun 19, 2018

Breaking News: New Association Health Plans Rules Expand Health Care Options

Association Health Plans

Today, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released new association health plans (AHPs) rules that allow small employers and self-employed individuals to join together to purchase health insurance coverage.  These rules are the result of President Trump’s executive order last year requesting the DOL to provide more access and choice in the health insurance market, including the AHP regulations. As the DOL stated in the press release accompanying the regulations “under the Department’s new rule, AHPs can serve employers in a city, county, state, or a multi-state metropolitan area, or a particular industry nationwide”. This includes self-employed individuals who now… Read more


Jun 14, 2018

Judge Says “No” to ACA Reimbursements for Insurers

Court Ruling

Today, a Federal Judge ruled that the Federal government does not need to reimburse insurance companies for over $12 billion in the “risk corridor” program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As background, the risk corridor program was designed to lessen financial losses for insurers during the initial years of the ACA. However, Congressional Republicans have likened this program to a “bail-out” for insurance companies and were instrumental in blocking its funding. The Federal Circuit Court agreed that Congress could lawfully withhold funding from this program. While this decision applies only to the cases brought by health insurers Moda Health Plan and… Read more


Jun 13, 2018

Will the ACA be Dismantled in Court? Justice Department Declines to Support ACA Provisions

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

President Trump’s administration continues in its mission to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While attempts to repeal the ACA through legislation have not succeeded, the constitutionality of the ACA is again under assault. In an unusual move, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to congressional leaders, telling them that the Justice Department will not defend the constitutionality of certain ACA provisions in the lawsuit filed in the Northern District Court in Texas by 20 State Attorney Generals. The letter stated in part that “The department in the past has declined to defend a statute in cases in which… Read more


Dec 20, 2017

Health Care Implications of Tax Bill: No More Individual Mandate

Health Care and Taxes

Late yesterday, the U.S. Senate Republicans approved a tax bill, by a vote of 51-48. This bill was previously approved by the U.S. House by a vote of 227-203.  As the bill must be identical in both chambers, this bill now heads back to the U.S. House to correct three provisions. One of these provisions is the actual name of the bill. The Senate version’s short title, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” must be known as “An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018,”… Read more


Nov 30, 2017

Senate Will Likely Vote on Tax Reform Late Today or Tomorrow: Individual Mandate Penalty Relief is Included

Tax Reform: Individual Mandate Penalty

According to multiple sources, the U.S. Senate is close to voting on tax reform either later today or in the morning. Absent any late defections, the bill is expected to pass the Senate through a strict party-line vote. While the final version of the bill is not yet set, at this time, the current version includes the elimination of the individual mandate penalty currently provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House’s version of tax reform, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, passed on November 16th, does not include the elimination of the individual mandate penalty, although the House… Read more


Nov 17, 2017

House Approves Tax Bill: Senate Tax Bill Now Out of Committee

Tax Calculator

In the U.S. House, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( H.R. 1) (the Act) was approved by a vote of 227-205 yesterday. The legislation lowers the top corporate rate of 35 percent to a flat 20 percent. On the individual side, the bill would collapse the existing seven income tax brackets to four with rates of 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent, and would roughly double the standard deduction. The Act would also limit home mortgage interest deductions, cap state, and local property tax deductions and eliminate deductions for other state and local taxes, and double the… Read more


Nov 16, 2017

Senate Adds Repeal of Individual Mandate to Its Tax Bill: Will This Change Doom the Bill’s Passage?

Health Care Law Binder

Over the past few weeks, the U.S. House and Senate have been working independently on tax bills. While these bills have included some health care related changes, the latest version of the Senate bill now includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. This addition provides funding for the tax breaks included in the bill and will allow the Senate Republicans to eliminate at least a small portion of the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) previously estimated that eliminating the individual mandate will reduce the federal deficit by about $338 billion over the 2018–2027 period. However, eliminating… Read more


Oct 13, 2017

One-Two Punch to the ACA: First An Executive Order, Now Trump Halts Cost Subsidies to Health Insurers

Healthcare

Late yesterday, the White House stated that it would immediately stop the funding for billions of dollars in Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies. The explanation is that, based on guidance from the Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has determined there is no appropriation for the payments and the government can’t lawfully make the payments. HHS was more specific, saying the payments “will be discontinued immediately” and citing a legal opinion from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We believe that the last Administration overstepped the legal boundaries drawn by our Constitution,” acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Seema Verma,… Read more