Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently enacted legislation that makes the ACA’s pre-existing conditions provision state law. The move ensures that residents of The Great Lakes State have continued access to high-quality health coverage for years to come.
Under Michigan’s new law, health insurers will not be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and must offer non-essential care, including preventive, mental health, and emergency services.
The law also prohibits insurers from denying or limiting coverage based on an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation. A final component of the Michigan healthcare law ensures that dependents cannot be removed from their parent’s coverage until the age of 26.
Michigan’s new healthcare policy mimics those of the ACA and ensures that regardless of any future Supreme Court ruling, state residents will still benefit from the healthcare law’s many consumer services.
Proactive Measures During Uncertain Times
Governor Whitmer’s decision to make these fundamental healthcare rights part of state law comes at a good time, as the ACA is currently facing yet another controversy at the highest degree.
In April, Northern Texas federal judge Reed O’Connor issued a nationwide injunction on the ACA’s preventive care services. The ruling stems from a case involving a conservative Christian organization that claims ACA preventive care expenses infringe on religious beliefs and are thus unconstitutional.
Since then, the Biden Administration issued a stay on O’Connor’s ruling to prepare appeals. The case will likely make its way to the Supreme Court sometime in 2024 where it will once again face being completely struck down.
While the likelihood of the ACA being struck down completely is unlikely, the law could see changes to the way its preventive care services are funded. If the provision is eliminated from federal law, approximately 150 million individuals covered by private health plans could lose out on the many advantages of cost-free preventive healthcare services, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calculation.
States Take The Lead on ACA Provisions
With the possibility of key ACA provisions being eliminated or the healthcare law being struck down entirely, the stakes are high and naturally, states are taking proactive measures.
Michigan’s decision to codify the ACA’s pre-existing provision into law is not the first time a state has taken this course of action. In fact, 15 other states, including California, Maryland, and Hawaii have written similar legislation into their legal code.
Many other states have weaved components of the ACA cornerstone into local law as well. California, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, for instance, incorporated the ACA’s now-defunct federal Individual Mandate into the state legislature, requiring residents to obtain coverage or face a penalty.
The ACA Remains Resilient
As states continue to write ACA provisions into their legislature, the federal government is also introducing enhancements to bolster the now 13-year-old healthcare law.
For example, the Biden administration recently introduced an open enrollment campaign that allows HealthCare.gov consumers the ability to browse different health plans for the 2024 year. This “window shopping” experience provides greater transparency into healthcare options and allows consumers more time to choose a plan that best suits their needs.
The 2024 federal open enrollment period, which begins November 1, also includes more options for Americans, with 96% of consumers having at least three plan options.
While opponents of the ACA complicate the future of healthcare, the nearly 14-year-old law has become a cornerstone of American healthcare–and one way or another it’s here to stay. And that means organizations need to uphold compliance with the law’s Employer Mandate.
Under the ACA’s Employer Mandate, employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time-equivalent employees must provide Minimum Essential Coverage that also meets Minimum Value to at least 95% of their full-time workforce and their dependents.
If you have questions about ACA compliance, contact Trusaic to learn about our full-service filing, compliance, and IRS audit defense solution, ACA Complete. For help navigating the complexities of the ACA’s Employer Mandate requirements ahead of the 2023 ACA reporting season, download the Employer’s Guide to Coding Form 1095-C below.
To gain invaluable insights on penalty amounts, affordability percentages, filing deadlines, expert tips for responding to penalty notices, and proven strategies for minimizing IRS penalty risk, download the ACA 101 Toolkit.