October 12th Executive Order: “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal.”
What Did It Do?
Tasked the Administration with developing policies to increase competition among insurers, with the goal of improving quality of care and lowering costs. More specifically, it directed the Department of Labor to consider expanding access to national Association based Health Plans, which could allow small employers or individuals to form groups across state lines.
In addition, this order would allow consumers to buy short term policies and broaden the ability of employers to cover some employee health expenses through HRAs.
The goal of this order is to make lower premium health insurance plans more widely available
President Trump deployed his use of the Executive Order after the Republican held Congress repeatedly failed to get enough votes to repeal any portion of the Affordable Care Act set in place by President Obama in 2010. Despite the Order, Trump is still encouraging Congress to pass a repeal and replace bill.
What’s the debate?
The White House believes this move will lower health insurance premiums and increase competition among insurers.
Critics realize that these associations and short term health plans are significantly less expensive as they are shielded from many of the federal oversights and requirements – which will attract younger and healthier individuals. In turn, saturating some markets with a sicker and more expensive customers, and causing the premiums to rise.
What to Expect
There will be little to no effect on employers immediately. Any changes are at least 6 months out and additional proposals will likely not be finalized in time to affect even 2019 insurance plans.
Broadly, it would expand access to loosely regulated insurance options with low premiums, and some experts say those changes could dismantle the Affordable Care Act’s insurance markets.