White House Issues Executive Order
President Trump signed an executive order yesterday attempting to improve access and choices while at the same time lowering costs for healthcare.
The Executive Order will direct the Secretary of Labor to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to expand Association Health Plans. The logic behind this is to allow employers in the same line of business anywhere in the country to join together to offer healthcare coverage to employees. It could potentially allow employers to form AHPs through existing organizations, or create new ones for the express purpose of offering group insurance.
Inevitably, this could lead to the sale of insurance across state lines through AHPs. Before this would become available to people, the Department of Labor will need to take more action. They will have to work closely with state insurance commissioners across the country.
The Executive Order also directs the Secretaries of HHS, Treasury and Labor to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to expand short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI). This directive would allow those agencies to revisit the rule enacted by the Obama Administration that limited the length of STLDI plans to three months.
The Executive Order directs the Secretaries of HHS, Treasury, and Labor to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to expand Health Reimbursement Arrangements. The intent of this directive is to allow employers to contribute more to their employees' HRAs.
The Executive Order directs the Secretary of Labor to act within 60 days in consideration of proposing regulations or revising guidance on AHPs. It also directs the Secretaries of Treasury, Labor and HHS to act within 60 days to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance on STLDIs, and for the agencies to act within 120 days to consider changes to HRAs.
The Executive Order does not direct the agencies to adopt specific regulations; therefore, in order for any policies to change, the agencies will have to go through the traditional rulemaking procedures of providing a proposed rule for public comment before being able to enact any final rules.
There is nothing contained in the Executive Order that will affect open enrollment for 2018 unless regulatory action is taken by the agencies. Until any such regulations are enacted, the ACA and all of its regulations, penalties and enforcement remain the law of the land.
President Will End Subsidy Payment to Carriers
President Donald Trump plans to end subsidy payments to insurers selling Obamacare coverage.
The decision to end the payments, estimated at $7 billion this year could cause more carrier disruption in the individual market with potential increases or decisions to leave the marketplace altogether.
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