Presidential outcome could impact employee health insurance, more

Q&A with Brandon Long

published in The Oklahoman | November 11, 2016

Many have speculated that the election of Donald Trump as the nation’s next president could mean that changes to the Affordable Care Act are forthcoming. In a Q&A with The Oklahoman just days after the election, employee benefits attorney Brandon Long offered his thoughts on the matter, saying that while some parts of the ACA were at risk even before the election, it now appears that the changes will be more dramatic than expected.

Long said that the ACA’s Cadillac Tax — a non-deductible 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health coverage that is set to go into effect in 2020 — is likely to be repealed, while the play-or-pay employer mandate and insurance exchanges are likely to face intense scrutiny and possible repeal.

“It seems very unlikely, however, that all of the ACA will be repealed,” said Long. “The ACA is huge and there are pieces of the ACA that are, I think, viewed as positive. For example, the inability of a health plan to exclude pre-existing conditions seems to be viewed as a good thing. President-elect Trump has indicated he thinks the pre-existing condition rule is positive. The ACA’s requirement that health plans cover children to age 26 also seems likely to remain.”

While it is probable that the ACA will be change in some form, Long urged employers to stay focused on their current compliance strategies for now, rather than take a wait-and-see approach.