Employers should know that the mandates linked to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are still in place despite the change at the White House, a compliance expert in human resources and benefit technology said.
Angel Hower, of Businessolver, a Des Moines-based HR and benefits technology company, told HR Daily Wire that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, will not be repealed soon, and certainly not before the deadlines set for 2017.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other agencies to “minimize the burdens” the ACA imposed on employers. However, at this point, whatever effect this directive will have on ACA is unclear, and it’s important to note that this directive is an executive order and not yet a law.
“The law is still the law until it is not,” Hower writes in a recent blog post for Businessolver. “It cannot just be repealed.”
"You still need to have 1095s postmarked by March 2, 2017 (an extension beyond the original January 31, 2017 deadline). You still need to transmit that data to the IRS as scheduled with good faith effort by March 31, 2017,” Hower wrote. "And you may still get fined if you don’t."
It is important, Hower told HR Daily Wire, to prepare for changes but in the short term those reporting mandates must be followed.
Hower said there is apprehension among employers over the changes that might happen in the future, and certainly, human resource and benefit professionals will be directly affected by any changes, she added.
Trump signed an executive order directing the HHS secretary and other agencies to reduce what he described as the financial burden of the ACA on employers, employees, insurers and health care providers. But, ”there has been a lot of conversation and confusion about what President Trump’s order officially means,” Hower wrote. “As of now, there have been no concrete changes made to the ACA. Rather, President Trump has made it clear he will continue working for its repeal and replacement. However, because there are several players involved in these decisions, many of the proposed changes cannot happen until the relevant appointed officials have taken office."
Hower went on to remind readers that change takes time.
"Even if the new administration decides to waive reporting penalties, employers are still required under the current law to complete ACA reporting by the 2017 deadline, which have yet to be changed," she said.
The bottom line, Hower wrote, is that while “much has changed in the past week, the ACA remains the same.”
She concluded, “Until concrete policies are put into place, such as a delay, waiver of penalties, or regulatory change – the law is still the law, and employers should proceed as normal with ACA compliance and reporting.”