Regulators won’t enforce the November 5 deadline for employers to get health plan identifiers (HPIDs) for their self-insured health plans. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the delay until further notice of both the mandate to obtain HPIDs and their use in electronic plan transactions as described in regulations. The delay applies to all HIPAA covered entities – including group plan sponsors and insurers. HHS intends to reconsider the use of HPIDs in HIPAA-covered transactions and consider appropriate next steps.
With the November 3 closing of the comment period on draft IRS instructions clarifying employer shared-responsibility (ESR) and minimum essential coverage (MEC) reporting forms, the IRS will race to issue final instructions and reporting forms by year-end. The forms will be due in early 2016 for the 2015 plan year.
If Republicans win control of the Senate in Tuesday’s mid-term elections, they may be able to move some incremental ACA reforms next year in the 114th Congress, but major changes are unlikely with President Obama still in office. Likely GOP reforms would target the employer and individual mandates, the ACA’s 30-hour per-week definition of a full-time worker, employer reporting requirements, and the Cadillac tax.