Since 2008, benefits lawyers have been telling employers and health insurers about the kinds of regulatory changes the Obama administration might make.
Since 2010, lawyers have been helping clients understand Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provisions, regulations and interpretive documents, and comply with basic PPACA requirements.
Garrett Fenton, a PPACA specialist at Miller & Chevalier, who advises other lawyers at his firm on a wide range of PPACA issues, said he’s now starting to see PPACA work going, a little, beyond PPACA 101 issues.
See also: What the PPACA exchange cops hope to bag
The ruling in favor of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the King v. Burwell case may be accelerating that ripening process.
If the court had ruled against HHS, members of Congress might have used the need to come up with an individual health insurance market rescue plan as an opportunity to make major changes in the law, Fenton said. Now that the Supreme Court has given HHS permission to continue to offer access to PPACA premium tax credits through HHS-established PPACA exchange programs, “we know the exchanges are here to stay,” Fenton said in a recent interview. “The employer mandate is in effect in all states.”
“That opportunity is effectively gone,” Fenton said.
See also: Your PPACA Compliance Checklist
For a look at some of the workaday PPACA matters that are making their way into Fenton’s inbox, read on.
1. Contraceptive coverage accommodation requests
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) generally requires employers to include coverage for birth control services and products in their basic preventive services packages.
The U.S. Supreme Court held, when it ruled on the Hobby Lobby case, that under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), HHS should try to provide reasonable accommodations for employers’ religious practices.
Fenton said his firm is getting a steady stream of requests about how family-owned employers can ask for accommodations.