28. June 2012 11:24
The Affordable Care Act
On June 28th, the United States Supreme Court announced that they upheld health care reform as to the requirement that individuals purchase insurance or pay a tax. As a result, the Court had no need to address the employer mandate. Those provisions of the law affecting employers – beginning in 2014, in 2018, and beyond – are still the law of the land.
The employer mandate and related penalties will take effect in 2014, barring an act of Congress limiting or completely repealing the law. Given the parts of the law that have already taken effect and are very popular, the age 26 rule for example, Congress faces a monumental task if it decides to attempt to re-write the current law. We expect the issue to be a political hot button topic through November election and beyond.
To read the language of the actual ruling, you can find it here.
Things to consider, moving forward:
- Previously, many businesses had put their healthcare strategies on hold. But after the ruling, they must now look at the complexities of the law rather than wishing for the law to be overturned.
- The new discrimination provisions contained in the law generally require business owners with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance to their workforce or pay a penalty.
- Due to the complexity of the law, most small business owners will need help in understanding and complying with the law.
- Whether it is through exchanges, pooling, or HRA/HSA plans, business owners should try to find ways to decrease healthcare costs sooner rather than later.
Issues that the Supreme Court had to rule on
Anti-Injunction Act: Does the federal Anti-Injunction Act bar Court action until the tax imposed for not having coverage provision of the Act is effective?
Individual Mandate: Is the individual mandate to purchase health insurance constitutional?
Held: It is constitutional under the taxing authority of the United States.
Severability: Is the Act severable if portions are unconstitutional (i.e., can portions not related to the mandate stand)?
Medicaid Expansion: Are the burdens imposed upon the states by the Medicaid expansion portions of the Act constitutionally permissible?
Held: The power of the federal government to cut off Medicaid funding entirely is limited but the provisions are otherwise upheld.
Do you have questions? Speak to the professionals at Human Resources, Inc. today about the Affordable Care Act