No one knows exactly how Republicans will change the Affordable Care Act rules, or when, but some employers in California are hoping they’ll get quick relief from at least one burdensome new set of proposed regulations.
Alison Wright, a partner in the San Francisco office of Hanson Bridgett LLP, says one effect of Donald Trump winning the presidential election Nov. 8 has been a flurry of calls about draft Internal Revenue Service regulations that could affect employer efforts to compensate employees who decline offers of group health benefits.
In July, the IRS proposed adding the amount of the opt-out payment to the employee’s minimum required contribution for health benefits when deciding whether the employer’s coverage is affordable. If the government decided an employer’s coverage was not affordable, the employee could qualify to use an Affordable Care Act premium tax credit subsidy to buy health coverage through an ACA public exchange. In some cases, the employer could end up owing an ACA penalty payment.
Wright, a benefits lawyer, said Thursday in an interview that California employers have been struggling to comply with the proposed opt-out payment regulations.
Now that Trump is the president-elect, and Republicans control both the House and the Senate, employers are asking her, “Do we really need to do it?”
On the opt-out payment issue and others, “we’re definitely getting more calls,” Wright said. “There’s a lot of questions.”
Wright does think Republican will start working on the ACA quickly.
“This is their platform,” Wright said. “It’s the most visible issue.”
Wright said she thinks that the government could eliminate any ACA employer requirements it cuts quickly, without a long transition period.
“It’s easier to transition out than to transition in,” Wright said.
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