Tuesday April 25th, 2017
With proposed law changes and bill rejections, many Americans are confused about where the Affordable Care Act stands today.
At this point, no changes have been approved to the ACA, so employers and individuals must comply with its requirements. These requirements for employers include tracking employee hours to ensure that all who are eligible receive offers of coverage, as well as making sure that minimum offers of coverage meet the threshold for affordability. Individuals must maintain health care coverage to avoid fines under the ACA.
Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a statement that modified the open enrollment period for the ACA next year, helping the period align with open enrollment periods held by the private market and Medicare. For 2018 coverage, the ACA open enrollment period will begin on November 1, 2017 and end on December 15, 2017. The changes shorten the open enrollment period by several weeks. The open enrollment period for Medicare runs from October 15 through December 7, 2017.
The purpose for modifying the open enrollment period, according to the CMS, is to reduce confusion by having open enrollment for all individuals around the same time. It also serves to push people looking to make changes to their marketplace coverage to start reviewing options sooner instead of delaying the open enrollment period.
Waiting to enroll in health care will also come with additional financial penalties in 2018. Under the final rule, insurance issuers can require people to pay back premiums that are past due before they can enroll on a plan for 2018.
Until Congress can get the votes needed to pass modifications or a new health care act altogether, the ACA stays in effect. Employers and individuals must remain in compliance to avoid hefty fines and loss of health care coverage for the coming year.
Infinisource Benefit Services offers a useful tool to help employers with ACA compliance. ACA Print and File handles the production and filing of required forms, simplifying the complex tasks for employers. Infinisource Benefit Services also actively monitors what is going on in the legislature and will adjust the systems accordingly should anything change with the health care laws.