Affordable Care Act Alert: Disclosure of Additional Implementation Delay

aca-alertADDITIONAL DELAY:
You may have heard recently about the announcement of additional delays in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare). The following is a brief overview of the delay and the underlying regulations:

– The delay postpones for one year (until 2015) limits on out of pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-pay

  • The specified limits on out of pocket expenses – $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families – were supposed to go into effect in 2014

– This delay will affect more individuals than businesses

  • Specifically, individuals with chronic health problems are more likely to be impacted by the removal of out of pocket limits
  • The delay has been criticized by patient advocacy groups such as The American Cancer Society and The National Multiple Sclerosis Society

– While this delay was formally announced in a little noticed post on the Labor Department’s website in February 2013 it did not gain media attention until it was discussed in a New York Times article published last week

– The delay was approved in order to give insurers and employers with self-funded medical plans more time to coordinate computer systems and record keeping

NOTES ON POLITICAL ISSUES:
In addition to the nuts and bolts changes caused by the delayed implementation, this announcement has further called into question the likelihood of continued delays and/or dilutions of the ACA legislation. Republican congressional figures are likely to use ACA legislation in general, and delays in particular, as talking points against Democratic rivals during the upcoming 2016 mid-term election season. In addition, it is possible that adjustments to ACA legislation could be part of congressional negotiation during this fall’s anticipated confrontation concerning issues such as the debt ceiling, government sequestration and continued governmental funding.

prepared by James F. Eaton, III, CPA, MBA

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