The Election is Over, So Now What?

The Election is Over, So Now What?

Now that the election has passed, we are organized and ready to take advantage of new opportunities to stabilize the health insurance market and improve health plan affordability and availability. We are also placing high priority on improving conditions for our members as they serve their clients each day. While the exact pathway isn’t clear as to how and when changes will occur, we are hard at work to make sure that much needed changes occur and that changes are done in a way that not only ensures that we are able to make things better, but also ensures that no harm results to you and your clients as those changes are phased in.

What Do I Tell My Clients?

Most of you are currently assisting individuals and groups every day with their ongoing needs. Many of your clients are planning and preparing for the 2017 plan year. It is vital to keep in mind:

  • The ACA is still the law of the land. Even though we are sure that parts of the ACA will ultimately be repealed, we also know it will not happen all at one time and, until a given provision is removed, compliance is critical.
  • Nothing has been repealed or replaced yet, and any changes will take time to implement. Some changes will be able to occur much more quickly than others and some changes, particularly as it relates to repeal and replace on things like essential benefits packages and modified community rating or any provision that does not have a direct budget impact, will be difficult and subject to Senate parliamentary procedure rules. Without bipartisan support, they will not pass.
  • In the meantime, your clients should continue to comply with the ACA.
    • The penalties for failure to comply with the ACA, whether under the individual and employer mandates or under employer reporting and other areas, are still in place and regulations should be followed until there is a definitive repeal of the respective areas of the ACA.

Will There Be a Repeal?

An across the board complete repeal of the ACA is unlikely. House and Senate leaders are more likely to begin the process using budget reconciliation, a process that only requires a simple majority to pass, and attach ACA repeal provisions that are permissible under the reconciliation process. We will be working with President-elect Trump and congressional leadership to determine the best approach and timing for these types of changes, as well as making sure that those who currently benefit from ACA provisions, such as premium tax credits, have an extended transition process to allow them to remain insured.

The second phase of changes will be repealing other items that could not be addressed with budget reconciliation and theoretically replacing them with something better. We will also be advising members of Congress and the new administration on different ways these concepts could be structured and the effect each might have on availability and affordability of health plans. A “piecemeal” process is likely to be a slow process, not just in the timing of when sections of the ACA are repealed and/or replaced, but also in implementation. We will be working closely with policy makers to ensure change is implemented in a timely fashion depending on the section of the ACA being repealed, either going into effect immediately or being phased in over time.

What is NAHU Doing?

NAHU has been working with the Trump campaign, now the Trump transition team, since this summer to provide input on the Republican Party platform on healthcare, and has already met with the transition team to set the stage for open communication between the association and the Trump administration as possible changes to the ACA are being considered. We are also working to educate the Trump administration on the value of health insurance agents, brokers, and consultants as changes to the health insurance market are introduced and implemented in his administration. We are also meeting with key congressional leaders to provide advice on strategies to move forward in a way that enhances your ability to serve your clients.

It is important for all of us to work together and speak with one voice to ensure that the right changes are made at the right time. The time has never been more important for a united front. If you have colleagues or associates who are not members of NAHU, please make sure they join today at www.nahu.org. We will need everyone’s voice to make a difference – numbers matter, so please reach out to someone you know today and bring them into the NAHU family. Also, please watch our new special section of the Washington Update each week for transition information and ACA progress updates.

NAHU’s commitment to the private health insurance market and the important role our members play in that market remains strong as does our stature and influence as an association to create change that will make a difference. Thank you for allowing us the honor of representing you at this important time.

Sincerely,

Jim Stenger
NAHU President

 

 

Janet Trautwein
NAHU Executive Vice President and CEO

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