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The Executive Order on ACA Rules – What Does It Mean?

On October 12, President Trump signed an executive order intended to change certain rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The order is intended to relax regulations on association health plans, allowing individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance policies across state lines and avoid certain ACA requirements. The ostensible effect of the order would be to expand choices, increase competition and thus lower costs for consumers.

Agencies are directed to expand access to multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs, also known as association health plans), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and short-term, limited duration insurance.

Coming as it did just before the annual open enrollment period for the ACA, the order has created some uncertainty. Here’s what you need to know:

  • An executive order is a broad directive that instructs federal agencies to consider new regulations and/or guidance in order to implement the intended policies. The order does not make any immediate changes to existing regulations.
  • Until the affected agencies can issue further guidance, the effects of the order and its specific impact will remain unclear.
  • At this writing, all components and regulations of the ACA remain in full effect.

The relevant agencies have 60 days from the date of the order to draft regulations that would implement the requested changes related to MEWAs and short-term insurance, and 120 days for regulations related to HRAs. Thus, the next important dates in the progression of the executive order will be December 11, 2017 and February 9, 2018, respectively.

Questions about the ACA or other healthcare coverage issues? Contact Consolidated Insurance.