The Affordable Care Act experienced a lot of ups and downs this year. Congress attempted to repeal and replace the act over the summer but was unable to assemble enough votes. However, many in Congress, especially those in the Republican party, still want to repeal at least some areas of the ACA. One area of contention in this law is the individual mandate, which might become obsolete with the passing of the tax reform bill.
What Is the Individual Mandate?
The ACA's individual mandate requires everyone to obtain some type of qualifying healthcare coverage through their job or on their own. Otherwise, you face paying a penalty with your income taxes for every month for which there was no coverage, which can be as high as over $2,000 per person or the total yearly premium of the average national price of a Bronze plan. Businesses that employ more than 50 employees must also provide qualifying health insurance for their employees as part of the individual mandate.
Does the Individual Mandate Remain Valid?
The Republicans in the Senate tried one more time to do away with this part of the ACA by adding a repeal of the individual mandate in their tax reform bill. Because this bill passed, there are many questions as to what this means for individuals around the country.
Although the tax reform bill includes a repeal of the individual mandate, the bill is not yet law. Therefore, the individual mandate remains applicable. Starting this tax season, the IRS plans to reject tax returns that omit the information regarding health coverage.
What About the New Tax Reform Bill?
Currently, the tax reform bill has passed through both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Only the Senate bill includes a repeal of the individual mandate. As of publication, the two bills must undergo a conference committee during which leaders of both parties debate the differences in the bills, including the repeal of the individual mandate, and create a single bill. Then, both parties voted on the conference bill with a simple majority to pass it. After that, President Trump signs the bill into law.
Although the new tax reform passed into law, whether the repeal of the individual mandate remains is unknown. However, it will most likely not impact 2018, since the change would not begin until 2019. Therefore, for the time being, it is important to remain compliant with the current law, which includes the ACA and the individual mandate.
For more information on securing health insurance for individuals or for groups including employee benefits to remain compliant, contact us at 707-823-3689. To remain up to date on the latest health coverage news, like us on Facebook, find us on Google+, and subscribe to our blog.