How the President’s Executive Order Affects ACA Compliance

 

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On January 20, 2017, President Trump signed the “Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal.” Since then, there has been a good deal of confusion about where this leaves health plans with regard to complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Executive Order states that, until the ACA can be repealed, the executive branch is to ensure the law is “efficiently implemented” while minimizing “unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” resulting from the law. The Executive Order goes on to state that, to the maximum extent allowed by law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies will:

“…exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act [ACA] that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”

So what does this mean for health plans looking to remain complaint with the ACA?

Despite the Executive Order’s call to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of” ACA regulations, the law has not been repealed and enforcement has not ended. The Order merely puts the matter of enforcement—and what to enforce—into the hands of the various agencies. Thus, it would be wise to continue to remain compliant with the law, including the individual and employer mandates, cost limits, dependent coverage, Reinsurance and PCORI fees, and all other ACA regulations, until such time as either the law is repealed or enforcement is stopped.

For full text of this Executive Order, visit the official White House website at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/2/executive-order-minimizing-economic-burden-patient-protection-and.