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Trump & Company Health Plans: How Wisconsin Employers Can Prepare!

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In the aftermath of President-elect Donald Trump’s election victory, a top concern of business owners remains their relationship with the Affordable Care Act. For over 6 years, employers have adjusted to the financial and administrative requirements of the Affordable Care Act. As we turn toward 2017 and the first 100 days of Republican-controlled Executive and Legislative branches, what can we expect and how does this impact the path you’ve taken with your current health care strategy?

What should we expect?

President-elect Trump ran for the presidency on a platform to repeal the ACA. The details of this strategy have not been released, however it is fair to assume that we will see a repeal & replace that will likely transition over multiple years. The most controversial aspects of the ACA include the Individual Mandate, Employer Mandate, Premium Tax Credits and Medicaid Expansion.

Let’s keep two critical factors in mind as we set our sights on 2017: A full ACA repeal is not imminent and employer insurance is not going away anytime soon. Already, there has been Republican consensus on two aspects of the ACA that will likely continue to be a part of the fabric of an alternative solution:

  • Individuals with preexisting health conditions will not be denied coverage.
  • Individuals less than age 26 can retain coverage under their parents health care plan.

These aspects of the ACA have generally been regarded as positive and will likely be an integral part of an alternative Trump solution.

The recent selection of six-term Congressman and Orthopedic Surgeon Tom Price (R-GA) as the Health and Human Services Secretary gives us an indication of the knowledge and vision behind one of the most influential people to form our future health care policy. Price has introduced legislation every year since 2009 to replace the ACA. Price’s proposal is called “Empowering Patients First Act” and may provide clues regarding the future of the ACA under the incoming administration. In addition, Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” proposal identifies specific strategies around two key issues; Continuous Coverage and High Risk pools.

Short term expectations

Changes we can expect to see are freezes on enforcement and or the implementation of certain ACA provisions and regulations. In addition, we should anticipate a rolled-back enforcement of various mandates and other employer requirements. These Executive Branch actions are consistent with the President Elect pro business platform.

Congress can use the budget reconciliation process to make additional changes, but these are restricted to policies that impact revenue and expenditures, for example: The “Cadillac tax” on employers that was delayed until 2020 will likely be eliminated. More substantive changes to the ACA, like the Individual Mandate, Employer Mandate, Premium tax credits and Medicare Expansion, will require legislative action.

Ready, set, be prepared

Preparation is key and our advice is to continue to comply with the current system. This includes, but not limited to, distribution of your company SBC’s for employers of 50+ employees and continued compliance with the shared responsibility reporting requirements (forms 1094-C & 1095-C).

Now is the time to work with your benefit advisor to look around the corner and set a course of action that will enable your company to continue to offer a benefit program designed to support your Company’s employee attraction, retention and productivity efforts . A Trump health care plan will no doubt be viewed very differently from your company’s leadership team down to your rank and file employees. In addition, we should expect this uncertainty to influence the insurance markets in ways we can and likely cannot predict. However, access and affordability will continue to be key drivers in your strategic planning for a post Trump company health care program.

Interested? Let’s talk further

Integrated Risk Solutions will be hosting an employer seminar in March, 2017 to outline the early aspects of how the new health program will impact Wisconsin employers. For information on signing-up for the seminar, please contact us.