Human Resources News & Insights

Feds to loosen health reform regs, again?

As more healthcare reform mandates begin to take effect, the White House has been analyzing the new law’s impact. And as a result, it’s contemplating loosening yet another requirement.

First, lawmakers exempted certain companies that provided coverage to low-wage earners from a requirement that would raise annual benefits limits.

Then, the IRS pushed back by one year the reporting requirement that said employers had to include on employees’ W-2s the amount they paid to provide healthcare coverage.

And now White House officials have stated that they are weighing whether to allow employers to switch health plans and still maintain their grandfathered status.

This would allow employers to shop for cheaper plans — even if provided by a new carrier — without a penalty, a goal officials says strengthens the law’s intent to lower coverage costs.

Under the law passed in March, once a company changes insurance carriers it loses its grandfathered status and must provide added services, like preventive care.

The idea behind “grandfathering” existing health plans is that it would allow employers and employees to keep their existing plans if they’re happy with them. And for a plan to keep its grandfathered status, its benefits levels cannot decrease — a requirement that will not change even if companies are allowed to switch health plans.

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