Friday, December 21, 2018

Healthcare Reform & Benefit News, Week of Dec. 21, 2018

Healthcare Reform News

The ACA Remains in Place After Being Struck Down by Federal Court
December 20, 2018 – McGriff Insurance Services
Excerpt: “This lawsuit was filed by 20 states as a result of the 2017 tax reform law that eliminates the individual mandate penalty. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA on the basis that the individual mandate is a valid tax. With the penalty’s elimination, the court in this case ruled that the ACA is no longer valid under the U.S. Constitution.”

Obamacare Battle Now Before a Baltimore Judge Picked by Obama
December 19, 2018 – Bloomberg
Excerpt: “Hollander was nominated to the federal bench by Obama in April 2010, less than a month after the ACA was signed into law and the first suits were filed to dislodge it. She may issue a ruling as soon as arguments are completed, but more likely will compose a written ruling in coming days or weeks.”

House Rules to Repackage Tax-Retirement Bill Today
December 19, 2018 – ThinkAdvisor
Excerpt: “Members of the House Rules Committee are preparing to look at the big Republican retirement bill starting at 5 p.m. today, in the U.S. Capitol…The latest would version would also extend the current moratorium on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) medical device tax; put off implementation of the ACA “Cadillac plan tax,” or tax on high-cost health benefits packages; extend the current suspension of the ACA annual fee on health insurers, or “health insurer tax”; and repeal the excise tax on indoor tanning services.”

ACA Ruled Unconstitutional, But It’s Status Quo For Employers—For Now
December 17, 2018 – Fisher & Phillips LLP
Excerpt: “A Texas federal judge dealt a serious blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) late Friday afternoon, ruling that the tax reform law passed by Congress in late 2017 rendered the healthcare law unconstitutional. While U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s 55-page opinion overturns the entirety of the law on a national basis, his ruling does not include any sort of injunction that would immediately cause employers to alter their practices with respect to benefit administration.”

ACA? Unconstitutional, So Declares a Federal Judge
December 15, 2018 – FisherBroyles LLP
Excerpt: “To keep track of the whipsaw that is the ACA, be aware that Democrat defenders of the ACA have confirmed they would appeal. Notably, the federal judge did not issue an injunction to stop enforcement of the law, and even the White House (though applauding) cautioned that the ACA remains in place while appeals proceed. So, now what??!!”

Texas Judge Throws Out Most of ACA
December 14, 2018 – ThinkAdvisor
Excerpt: “U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor said today that the PPACA provision requiring many individuals to own health coverage is now an unconstitutional requirement for people to buy health coverage, not a tax that complies with the U.S. Constitution. Because PPACA contains no “severability clause,” or provision that lets the rest of PPACA survive if one part of PPACA is nullified, all of PPACA is invalid, O’Connor writes in an opinion explaining his ruling on the case, Texas et al. v. USA (Case Number 4:18-cv-00167-O).”

In Other News:

Removal of Final ADA Wellness Rule Vacated by Court
December 20, 2018 – The Federal Register
Excerpt: “This action responds to a decision of the U.S. District Court for the District Court for the District of Columbia that vacated the incentive section of the ADA) rule effective January 1, 2019.”

The Evolution of America’s Sick Leave Epidemic vs. State Efforts to Find a Cure
December 19, 2018 – Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Excerpt: “This blog presents Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Infographic tracking the spread of paid sick leave and anti-local sick leave laws around the country. The Infographic is divided into four distinct time periods to highlight the geographic and historic evolution of these laws.”

Ohio small businesses may get more access to employee health data
December 18, 2018 – Dayton Daily News
Excerpt: “A proposed Ohio law could help small businesses shop for affordable health insurance by letting them see details on expensive health insurance claims, though critics say it would violate employee medical privacy. For employees with a claim that’s $30,000 or more, Senate Bill 227 will allow insurers to provide companies the amount paid toward that claim and the health condition being treated.”

3 Options For Providing Wellness Program Incentives In 2019…And Beyond
December 14, 2018 – Fisher & Phillips LLP
Excerpt: “Employers are about to enter into limbo when it comes to maintaining wellness programs, and you will soon need to make a decision about how you will implement any such programs at your workplace. As of January 1, 2019, the federal rules that had been put into place to govern wellness program incentives will be officially invalid…”

Health Plan Fiduciaries Liable for Restitution and Penalties Relating to Tobacco Surcharge
December 13, 2018 – Thomson Reuters
Excerpt: “A federal court has entered a consent order requiring the fiduciaries of a group health plan to repay over $145,000 to participants who, as tobacco users, were required to pay health insurance premium surcharges as part of the plan’s wellness program.”