The vote to pass the AHCA in the House – a first step on the road to repealing the ACA – has raised questions about how employers might respond if the ACA requirements affecting employer-sponsored plans were to be lifted. One way to approach that question is to look at how employer plans changed – and how they didn’t change – under the ACA. We went back to past Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans databases to find out.
Would a repeal mean that employers revert back to pre-ACA plan designs? Not necessarily, and certainly not at once. Some employers might reinstate mini-med plans as a way to provide some type of health benefit to part-timers not eligible for the company’s comprehensive plan. It seems unlikely that employers that have raised deductibles would lower them – but it also seems unlikely that employers would take away coverage from any employees or reduce plan values below the current 60% minimum. Before the ACA, most employers voluntarily offered comprehensive health benefits that already met the ACA minimum requirements; by and large, the requirements targeted plans that were the exception rather than rule.
The repeal and replace bill that just passed in the House faces tough challenges in the Senate. Even so, with the Senate reportedly working on a bill of their own, it’s a good bet that this Congress will make some changes to the ACA – and, one way or another, that will mean change for employer plans too. This process may take some time. We’ll keep you posted.