While most Americans are familiar with the well-publicized issues and higher than projected premium costs of coverage offered to Americans enrolling in health care coverage through the federal healthcare marketplace Healthcare.gov created under the health care reforms of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Americans are just beginning to recognize the growing problems and concerns emerging with state exchanges in those states that elected to enact their own exchange. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in the challenge to the payment of ACA subsidies to individuals in states that elected not to adopt a state-run health care exchange to pay for coverage purchased through the federal healthcare.gov marketplace in King v. Burwell on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, the growing evidence of rapidly emerging funding and other challenges affecting state-run exchanges raise concerns about the solvency and reliability of coverage promised and purchased through those state-run exchanges.
During the Congressional debates leading up to the enactment of ACA, for instance, ACA advocates touted the Massachusetts health care mandates and reform law of Massachusetts as part of the model for ACA and evidence of the potential benefits offered by enactment of ACA. Now Massachusetts officials are blaming ACA for serious underfunding and other problems in their state’s health care connector.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently cited the Health Connector and its challenges in enrolling Massachusetts residents in health insurance plans as part of the Affordable Care Act that forced the state to temporarily transition hundreds of thousands of state residents into the commonwealth’s Medicaid program as a primary reason for the state’s projected $1.5 billion budget deficit. He now has asked for the resignations of four Massachusetts Health Connector board members: MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, Covered California actuarial consultant John Bertko; Massachusetts Nonprofit Network CEO Rick Jakious and Spring Insurance Group CEO George Conser.
The Massachusetts experience is not unique. Other states also are experiencing significant funding and other problems dealing with the ACA mandates and implementation. See, e.g., Funding Woes Imperil Future of State Run Exchanges; State Insurance Exchanges Face Challenges In Offering Standardized Choices Alongside Innovative Value-Based Insurance.
This mounting evidence of serious cost, financing and other concerns in state-run exchanges creates new reason for concern about the future of ACA’s health care reforms even for those citizens of states whose eligibility for subsidies is not challenged by the King v. Burwell Supreme Court challenge. These and other budget overruns and operational challenges raise serious questions about the ability of the federal government or the states to fund the promises currently made by ACA in its present form. Congress and state governments almost certainly will be forced to deal with these broader challenges regardless of the outcome of King v. Burwell. As American leaders continue to struggle to deal with these and other mounting problems impacting the U.S. health care system, the input of individual Americans and businesses and community leaders is more critical than ever. Get involved in helping to shape improvements and solutions to the U.S. health care system and the Americans it cares for by sharing your ideas and input through the Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy and exchanging information and ideas for helping American families deal with their family member’s illnesses, disabilities and other healthcare challenges through Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.
About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment & Coalition on Responsible Health Policy
Do you have ideas or experiences to share about medical debit, ACA or other health care challenges? Have ideas for helping improve ACA and other health care policies impacting the US health care system, helping Americans cope with these and other health care challenges or other health care matters? Know other helpful resources or experiences that you are willing to share? Are you concerned about health care coverage or other health care and disability issues or policy concerns? Join the discussion and share your input by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.
Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these needs is the purpose of
The Coalition and its Project COPE arise and operate on the belief that health care reform and policy must be patient focused, patient centric and patient empowering. The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans. The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch. Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up: Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can. Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.
The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process. Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist. The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye. Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families. While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.
We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.
You also may be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here such as:
- New Opportunity To Share Your Input With HHS About How To Improve Healthcare
- Empowering Roadmap For Living With Cancer Or Other Serious Illness
- Keeping Dementia Patients At Home: New Study Gives Tips
- NHI Says Coordinated Care Can Reduce Disabled’s High ER Use; System Contains Many Barriers To Providing This Care
- Look At Mental Health Care For Part Of The Solution To Prevent A Future Newtown Tragedy
- 13 Employer Tips For Coping With Health Care Reform Now!
You also can find out about how you can arrange for training for you, your employees or other communities to participate in training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,” using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here.
For Advice, Training & Other Resources
Should your business need legal advice about the taxability of or other requirements on tips, gratuities or other compensation, assistance assessing or resolving potential past or existing compliance exposures, or monitoring and responding to these or other workforce, benefits and compensation, performance and risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer may be able to help.
Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law, Past Chair of the ABA RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Arrangements Group, Co-Chair and Past Chair of the ABA RPTE Welfare Plan Committee, Vice Chair of the ABA TIPS Employee Benefit Plans Committee, an ABA Joint Committee On Employee Benefits Council representative, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section, a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, ABA, and State Bar of Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 25 years’ experience advising health plan and employee benefit, insurance, financial services, employer and health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health plans and insurers about ACA, and a wide range of other plan design, administration, data security and privacy and other compliance risk management policies. Ms. Stamer also regularly represents clients and works with Congress and state legislatures, EBSA, IRS, EEOC, OCR and other HHS agencies, state insurance and other regulators, and others. She also publishes and speaks extensively on health and other employee benefit plan and insurance, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, privacy, regulatory and public policy and other operations and risk management concerns. Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.
You can review other recent human resources, employee benefits and internal controls publications and resources and additional information about the employment, employee benefits and other experience of the Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, PC here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile www.cynthiastamer.com or by registering to receive these and other updates here. Recent examples of these updates include:
- New Opportunity To Share Your Input With HHS About How To Improve Healthcare
- IRS Updates Procedures For 403(b) Opinions & Approvals
- 3/6 ABA Study Group Conference Call Explores ACA Employer Compliance Challenges Hot Topics
- Businesses Should Verify Proper Tracking, Withholding & Reporting On Tips & Gratuities
- Tell Congress to protect wellness programs against EEOC attacks
- Stay Connected Update Your Contact Information
- Stamer Recognized As A “Top” Labor & Employment Lawyer
- Advance Copies Of 2014 Form 5500s Reminder To Avoid Penalties By Confirming Compliance
- Out-Of-Date, Unpatched Software Triggers HIPAA Security Sanction
- 2015 Tax Standard Mileage Rates Announced
- 12/5 Deadline For Insurers, Certain Self-Insured Health Plans To Submit 2014 Transitional Reinsurance Program Contribution Data
- OIG Report Pressures EBSA To Finalize ERISA Fiduciary Investment Advice Rule & Repeal or Restrict Small Scope Audit Rule
- TEGE Counsel To Assume Responsibility For Employee Plans, Exempt Orgs & IRA Technical Guidance in 2015
- Private Exchanges: Employer Health Program Panacea or Problem? Consider Carefully!
- Tell Senate To Pass Fix To ACA’s Full-Time Employee Definition
- Check Out Updated Kaiser Calculator For 2015 Zip Code-Specific Premium and Tax Credit Estimates for Health Marketplace Coverage
- Ebola Scare & New OCR Privacy Guidance Reminder To Prepare For Pandemic & Other Emergencies
- Stamer Kicks Off Dallas HR 2015 Monthly Lunch Series With 2015 Federal Legislative, Regulatory & Enforcement Update
- New DOL, IRS & HHS FAQ Confirms Employers Can’t Pay, Use HRAs to Reimburse Employees For Individual Policy Premiums
- Review Health Plans With Reference-Based Reimbursement Designs Under New Agency FAQ Guidance
- IRS Raises Health FSA Contribution Limit For 2015
- IRS Guidance Raises Concerns For Many Employers Offering “Skinny” & Other Limited Coverage Health Plans
- Supreme Court Delays Deciding Availabilities of ACA Subsidies For Coverage Purchased On Federal Exchange
- HHS Delays Enforcement Of HIPAA HPID Requirements
- Plan’s Purchase of Company Stock Triggers $6.48 Million Award Against ESOP Sponsor, Shareholder, Board Members & Trustees
- Government Contractors Get More Time To Comment On Burdens Of OFCCP Proposed Compensation Transparency Disclosure Regs
- IRS Announces Employee Plan Cost-Of-Living Adjustments
- Encourage Workers To Review Withholding As Part Of Annual Enrollment
- OFCCP FAQs On Veteran Hiring & Telework Rules
- Encourage Workers To Review Withholding As Part Of Annual Enrollment
- HHS Claims Average $69/Month Cost for Subsidized Coverage Shows ACA Success Challenged
- HIPAA Compliance & Breach Data Shares Helpful Lessons For Health Plans, Providers and Business Associates
- Making Wellness Work On A Shoestring Budget
If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here. For important information about this communication click here.
NOTE: This article is provided for educational purposes. It is does not establish any attorney-client relationship nor provide or serve as a substitute for legal advice to any individual or organization. Readers must engage properly qualified legal counsel to secure legal advice about the rules discussed in light of specific circumstances.
The following disclaimer is included to ensure that we comply with U.S. Treasury Department Regulations. The Regulations now require that either we (1) include the following disclaimer in most written Federal tax correspondence or (2) undertake significant due diligence that we have not performed (but can perform on request).
ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, or (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.
©2015 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C. Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press. All other rights reserved.