Repealing the ACA would have drawbacks for employer-sponsored health plans
- A Republican president-elect and a GOP-led Congress will likely try again to undo the Affordable Care Act. But some experts on employer-sponsored health plans are saying “not so fast,” reports Bloomberg.
- Greta E. Cowart, a shareholder at Dallas-based Winstead PC, told Bloomberg that an ACA repeal or substantial overhaul might mean that employers would have to return the funds the federal government gave them for certain initiatives, such as the early retiree reinsurance program. The ERRP gave employer-sponsored health plans financial assistance.
- Cowart pointed to another drawback for employers if the ACA is repealed. Many of the mandates on what should be included in employer-sponsored health plans that were neither exempted nor grandfathered in will be hard to take out of employers’ plans because employees would see that as a benefit reduction.
Repealing the ACA wouldn’t necessarily benefit employers. As Cowart pointed out, companies likely would have to return any funds they received under the ACA. Give-backs are always unpopular. With the HHS secretary nominee being ACA-opponent Tom Price, employers should keep an eye on him and his "Empowering Patients First" plan, which indeed calls for a full repeal of the law.
Either way, employers should be prepared for all outcomes. Organizations might consider offering high-deductible health plans or health savings plans, which emerged early as a cost-saving measure for employers, and keeping track of prescription prices (which emerged as a number one cost driver this year.)
- Bloomberg BNA Unwinding the ACA Poses Challenges for Plan Sponsors