SEMA eNews Vol. 20, No. 42, October 19, 2017

President Trump Directs Federal Agencies to Expand Healthcare Coverage Options

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (E.O.) that directs the federal departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury to take action to increase healthcare competition and choice. The E.O. is a first step intended to offer employers with more options when providing health coverage and expand the types of plans available by eliminating some requirements mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is more commonly known as Obamacare. The changes are not immediate since agencies must first issue corresponding regulations. President Trump’s order directs the agencies to:

  • Expand association health plans (AHPs). These plans allow employers and individuals who are part of a common group (such as a trade association) to join together to offer healthcare in a single plan. The E.O. seeks to expand the availability of AHPs and allow these plans to comprise groups and individuals across state lines.
  • Expand short-term limited duration plans. These plans have traditionally provided health insurance for individuals transitioning from one insurance plan to another. They are not subject to the same requirements as individual health insurance coverage for the purposes of the ACA rules. The length of time individuals can stay on such plans would be expanded from the current three months’ limitation.
  • Expand the rules for health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Allow health care premiums to be paid through HRAs, along with other changes. Under existing rules, most HRAs cannot be used to reimburse premiums for individual health insurance plans (although there is an exception to this for certain types of small business HRAs). 

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at erics@sema.org.

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