Although Congress may feel as if it has the bit in its teeth on repealing the Affordable Care Act, some experts are warning that it might not be all that easy—or even beneficial—particularly for employer-sponsored health plans.
In a Bloomberg report, Greta E. Cowart, a shareholder at Dallas-based Winstead PC, warned that an ACA repeal or major overhaul might put employers in the crosshairs; they could end up having to return money they previously received from the federal government for some initiatives, such as the early retiree reinsurance program, which provided financial assistance to employer-sponsored health plans.
In addition, Cowart said in the report that many of the mandates on what should be included in employer-sponsored health plans that were neither exempted nor grandfathered in will be hard to take out of employers’ plans, because employees would see that as a benefit reduction. And that, of course, would not make the employer look good.
In its report on the matter, HRDive.com warned employers to “keep an eye on” HHS secretary nominee Tom Price, a determined opponent of the ACA. His “empowering patients first” plan calls for complete repeal of the ACA—and that could lead to just such problems for businesses’ health plans.
Employers who have been calling for the repeal of the ACA might want to rethink their strategy, particularly since it could not only cost them money in the form of give-backs but also cost them employee loyalty if they take away health plan features once they’re no longer mandated by the ACA.
HRDive suggested that “employers should be prepared for all outcomes,” and perhaps consider offering their employees high-deductible health plans or health savings plans as cost-saving measures.
In addition, tracking prescription drug prices could help them keep an eye on costs.