With President Barack Obama’s re-election this week, the hopes of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) biggest opponents have been all but dashed away. Many adversaries of the 2010 bill were hopeful that a Mitt Romney presidency might lead to the ACA’s forthcoming 2014 implementation being overturned.
But, the bill survived a U.S. Supreme Court challenge earlier this year, and it appears it will now be officially written into the books – with ink pen instead of pencil this time.
"The law is here and we should at this point expect it to still be here Jan. 1, 2014," Alan Weil, executive director of the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy, told NPR.
With execution of the law imminent, many issues - for employers, individuals and industry professionals - still seem cloudy.
Some Parts of ACA Still Unclear
Federal Health Exchanges
Among the issues that are not crystal clear are the Federal Exchanges. Thirteen states have expressed intent to set up State Health Insurance Exchanges, which are the marketplaces where consumers will purchase health insurance. The rest are either still deciding or are intentionally not complying with the deadlines for creating their exchange. States have until November 16 to tell the administration whether they plan to run their own, and whether they can get it up and running by January of 2014.
According to the ACA, the federal government will step in and run exchanges for states that will not run their own exchange. But the administration has not yet outlined how these Federal Exchanges would work. In fact, the NAIC has published this list of questions for the federal government regarding exchanges.
Other key items that need clarity are Essential Health Benefits (EHB) for states, and more detailed interpretations of provisions surrounding employers and individuals.
We’ll be looking to the POTUS and the Department of Health and Human Services for guidance over the coming weeks, and we will report developments right here on our health benefits blog.
We've compiled a list of articles to help employers, individuals and industry professionals be as prepared as possible given what we know, so that when the fog lifts, they are ready to pull the trigger.