“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers,” remarked American philanthropist, businessman, and author Tony Robbins. The newly proposed American Health Care Act reshapes the healthcare landscape, and the questions asked about its innards will help practitioners inform their clients and customers about healthcare and insurance in 2017.
The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) has been controversial since its inception. Repealing and replacing Obamacare has been a linchpin of President Trump’s administration. At the 29th Annual Insurance Tax Seminar June 1-2, learn from experts about the latest developments in legislative activity affecting the insurance industry. The Federal Bar Association will present a timely session at the seminar in Washington, D.C. on the “Affordable Care Act – Where It Is Now.” Register at www.fedbar.org/instax17.
The Imperfect Present: House Republicans unveiled on March 6 their long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Titled the American Health Care Act, the 50-plus-page bill aims to eliminate the individual mandate that requires people to purchase health insurance. It will also phase out the federal insurance subsidies, replacing them with individual refundable tax credits to help users purchase healthcare. It focuses on health savings accounts and ending some of the Obamacare legislation’s taxes and penalties.
Insurance Company Considerations: Even if you’re not one of the roughly 11 million Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act to get your health insurance, you’ve probably seen the headlines about rising premiums and insurance companies pulling out of the system. Many insurers discovered that the people who were signing up were sicker and more costly than they expected. That meant some insurers were losing money, so they opted out of the marketplaces. Insurers like Humana, Aetna, and UnitedHealthcare pulled out of marketplaces altogether. Some states saw double-digit increases in premiums in 2016 for plans sold on the exchanges that began in 2014. Certain experts contend that the Republican bill will stabilize the market and premiums because the reforms will give insurers more flexibility and entice younger enrollees to sign up for coverage.
Risk Versus Reward: Under the proposed plan, people who let their insurance coverage lapse would face a significant penalty. Everything from the tax on tanning salons and medical devices to the surcharge on high-income taxpayers will be gone. The American Health Care Act repeals taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and health-insurance premiums. Generally, people who are older, lower-income, or live in high-premium areas receive larger tax credits under the Affordable Care Act than they would under the American Health Care Act replacement.
The new American Health Care Act is a complex labyrinth that insurers, insureds, lawyers, government officials, and business owners must understand in order to fashion workable policies and procedures for their clients and customers. Don’t miss the 29th Annual Insurance Tax Seminar June 1-2 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. Register at www.fedbar.org/instax17.
Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.