Qualifying expatriate health plans and policies issued or renewed after June 30, 2015, can get relief from several ACA requirements under legislation enacted early this year. Because regulators have yet to issue rules, however, recent Notice 2015-43 allows employers and insurers to apply a reasonable good-faith interpretation. Under a safe harbor in the notice, some sponsors with US-issued expatriate insurance policies can simply rely on existing ACA relief. The notice also addresses certain issues not discussed in earlier ACA guidance.
Congress is in its first full week of August recess, but its September health care agenda is already shaping up. Republicans hope to write and potentially pass a budget “reconciliation” bill under fast-track procedures this fall that would repeal at least part of the ACA, but any such bill would almost certainly be vetoed by the president. Lawmakers will also set their sights on the spate of merger activity among health insurers, with House and Senate hearings scheduled to focus on competition and consolidation in the health care sector. Republicans are expected to argue that the ACA is to blame for the activity and potential loss of consumer choice.