The individual and employer health insurance mandates remain the law, now that the Senate has rejected GOP proposals for Obamacare repeal.
The Affordable Care Act remains in force unless and until changed by Congress. Uninsured individuals must pay a penalty tax if they don’t qualify for an exemption. Employers with 50 or more full-timers but no affordable health plan owe a tax if their employees opt to buy insurance on an exchange and qualify for a tax credit. Trump’s executive orders on Obamacare do not change the law, IRS says privately.
But don’t be surprised to see more exemptions to the individual mandate. There are lots now: People for whom coverage is unaffordable. American Indians. Folks with incomes below the thresholds for filing a return. Those without coverage for less than three months. And people experiencing hardships. To undercut the law, the Treasury Dept. could widen exemptions so more uninsured needn’t pay the fine.
Also, keep an eye on a bipartisan plan with narrow changes to Obamacare. The new proposal, by 30-plus members of the House’s Problem Solvers Caucus, sets forth solutions intended to help stabilize the individual health insurance market.
It includes two tax provisions: Repeal of the 2.3% tax on medical device sales.
And an easing of the employer mandate. It would apply only to businesses with 500 or more employees…up significantly from the current 50-employee threshold. The 30-hour-per-week threshold to qualify as a full-timer would be hiked to 40 hours.