Stay Informed

The Health Care Reform landscape is constantly changing. Keenan’s Health Care Reform Insights will keep you up to date on the latest developments. We will post news items and articles you will find of interest. Check back often for updates.

Health Care Reform Insights

8/9/2017 - Draft 2017 IRS Form 1095-C Available

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a draft version of Form 1095-C for the 2017 reporting year (i.e., for filing in early 2018).  Form 1095-C is used by employers who must report under Internal Revenue Code Section 6056 on their full-time employees and the employer-sponsored coverage offered.  The draft form is largely unchanged from the 2016 version.  The IRS has yet to release draft 2017 instructions for the form but they are expected in the coming weeks.

8/1/2017 - Covered CA Releases Proposed 2018 Rates

On August 1, 2017, Covered California released its proposed rates for 2018. The average statewide rate is set to increase by 12.5% next year; however, the changes vary by plan and region with some plan rates decreasing while others increase. Also factored into the 2018 rates is a 2.8% increase due to the end of the moratorium on the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Provider Fee.

Eleven insurers will offer plans through Covered California in 2018. However, Anthem Blue Cross is withdrawing from 16 of the 19 regions in California and will continue to offer plans in only three regions of the state. Blue Shield, Health Net and Oscar are expanding their reach and product offerings to various regions throughout California. All told, 82% of Covered California consumers will have more than three plans to choose from, 96% will have at least two and 4% will have only one plan option.

7/28/2017 - Senate Fails to Repeal ACA

It was a drama filled week in the U.S. Senate as Republicans pushed forward on their quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act. However, after three days of debate and voting, they came up short. We have issued a Briefing that outlines the events that unfolded over the last few days, what may happen next and what this all means for employers.

7/19/2017 - ACA Repeal & Replace Stalls in the Senate

On July 17, 2017, the U.S. Senate’s effort to simultaneously repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) came to an end. Just four days earlier, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act – the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace the ACA. The revised bill included changes that were intended to address some concerns of those opposing the original draft that was released in late June; however, four Senators – Susan Collins (R., Maine), Jerry Moran (R., Kan.), Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Rand Paul (R., Ky.) – came out in opposition to the revised bill, which left Sen. McConnell short of the 50 Republican votes needed to get the bill passed.

With plans to repeal and replace the ACA at a standstill, Sen. McConnell issued a statement saying the Senate will take up the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2017. If the Senate agrees, an amendment based on the 2015 legislation vetoed by President Obama will be offered to repeal the ACA with a two-year delay that allows for drafting and passing replacement legislation. Three Senators – Susan Collins (R., Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) – quickly came out in opposition to this plan. Nonetheless, Sen. McConnell announced plans to call for a vote the week of July 24-28, 2017 on a motion to proceed.

With repeal and replacement of the ACA faltering and Republicans deeply divided over health care, it is not clear what the next move will be but some have suggested starting over. Rather than pushing legislation through the budget reconciliation process, some want to hold committee hearings and move any bills through the regular legislative process. However, it is an approach that would require cooperation from Democrats as 60 votes in the Senate would be needed to pass any legislation. With that in mind, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D., N.Y.) has called on Republicans to work with Democrats to pass bipartisan legislation. It remains to be seen if they take him up on the offer.

7/11/2017 - IRS Updates Affordability Threshold for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service has updated the affordability percentage for determining if coverage is affordable under the three affordability safe harbors for the Employer Mandate. For example, if an employer is using the Federal Poverty Line safe harbor and the employee’s required contribution for self-only coverage for the 2017 plan year is equal to or less than 9.69% of the Federal Poverty Line, then coverage is affordable. For plan years beginning in 2018, the percentage decreases to 9.56% (which is what it was for the 2015 plan year). Employers subject to the Employer Mandate should review their contribution strategy to ensure compliance with the new guidance.