The massive 2015 spending bill cleared by Congress over the weekend for the president’s expected signature will exempt health plans provided to expatriates living abroad from key health care reform requirements. The plans will, however, have to meet the law's minimum value standard and comply with laws in place before the Affordable Care Act's enactment, such as the principal US private-sector employee benefits law (ERISA). The language also requires that expatriates in the US be on a work-related, specific and temporary purpose or assignment. Plans providing dependent coverage to children will have to extend the coverage to adult children up to age 26. The provisions generally will apply to plans issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2015.
In addition, the bill includes provisions that would rescind $10 million from the law’s Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board, as well as block the ability of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to transfer certain funds for making payments to insurers under the law’s “risk corridor” program that some Republicans have characterized as an insurance company “bailout.”
Although these ACA changes are relatively small, they may help set the stage for a larger battle with the Obama administration over the law in the Republican-controlled 114th Congress.