The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and has since helped approximately, “5 million Californians” gain health coverage throughout these last seven years. With President Trump’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, employer-sponsored health plans may no longer be required. Many Californians are wondering what will happen to their health coverage with the uncertainty of the status of the ACA.
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, over 150 million individuals nationwide “stand to lose critical consumer protections that many have come to expect of their employer plan.” JoAnn Volk from Health Affairs states that since the ACA was signed into law, “employers cannot impose a waiting period for coverage of a pre-existing condition” and insurances must “cap the amount individuals can be expected to pay out-of-pocket each year.” Additionally, “the law mandates that insured Americans don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for certain healthcare services and supplies.” If repealed, it seems like many would lose coverage and the consumer protections that were put in place by the ACA might be jeopardized. So how will this affect you as the employer and when will it affect your employees?
If repealed, employers will no longer have to sponsor health coverage for their employees. CNN reports that “companies with at least 50 employees would no longer be required to provide affordable insurance to their staffers who work more than 30 hours a week.” Additionally, employers “would no longer have to keep children on their parents’ plans until they turn 26” and workers “may have to start paying again for contraceptives and preventative screenings, such as colonoscopies and mammograms”—which the ACA currently requires to be provided free-of-charge. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, employees who work at companies with fewer than 50 workers might be affected the most.
As of now, the ACA has not been repealed. However, if it does get repealed, nothing will change until the next calendar year. According to Nicole Evans, a spokeswoman for the California Association of Health Plans, said that “if there are changes to the national law, health plans are locked in for a year, so a 2017 plan contract can’t be altered before the end of the year.” That is because insurance contracts are for a full year, so your benefits are locked in until the next calendar year.