On Jan. 20, 2017 as his first act as president, Donald Trump signed an executive order addressing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The order states that it is intended “to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the ACA until the law can be repealed and eventually replaced. The executive order is very broad, and it does not include detailed guidance for how it should be carried out. Instead, it gives federal agencies authority to eliminate or fail to enforce any number of ACA requirements, as permitted by law. As a result, until the new heads of federal agencies are in place, it is difficult to know how the ACA will be specifically impacted.
Without further guidance, this order does not appear to relieve employers from any of their obligations under the ACA, including employer reporting (1094/5-C forms) due in the beginning of March. It also does not appear to permit employers to make changes in plan design to eliminate ACA mandated coverage (e.g., no pre-existing condition exclusion, coverage of dependent children to age 26, no annual or lifetime limits, the new health plan claim, appeal and external review procedures, coverage of certain treatments for life threatening illnesses, etc.).
Until there is more instruction from the IRS, plan sponsors should still comply with the Form 1095-C furnishing and filing requirements if employers are members of an applicable large employer. Employers should consider waiting to change the internal terms of their health plans since it is not clear what relief from which ACA requirements is available to employers under this executive order.We will keep you updated as the new administration continues making changes to the ACA. Please see this compliance bulletin for more information.