By - January 7, 2019

What the Texas Judge’s 2018 ACA Ruling Really Means

ACA Texas Judge Ruling

What the Texas Judge’s 2018 ACA Ruling Means

With all the flashy headlines about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being struck down over the last few weeks it would be easy to miss the fact that the ACA is still the law.

On December 14, 2018 a Texas Federal Judge ruled the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional. The lawsuit questioned whether the ACA could remain in effect after the individual mandate penalty was reduced to $0. However, while this lawsuit makes its way through the appeals courts, the law still stands. In fact, on December 30, 2018, the Judge reiterated that the ACA would remain in effect while it was under review.

Open Enrollment Continued Without Interruption

The White House confirmed shortly after the ruling that they would not take any action to stop the law and Open Enrollment for individual coverage would continue until the normal close date of December 15th.  Healthcare.gov, the primary marketplace for individual health insurance, tweeted, “The recent federal court decision is still moving through the courts, and the exchanges are still open for business and we will continue with Open Enrollment. There is no impact to your current coverage and your coverage in a 2019 plan.”

The Appeals Process Has Begun

The states who defended in the lawsuit have already asked to appeal the ruling. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals with review the ACA ruling in the next few months. If the Court of Appeals doesn’t agree, then everything with the ACA will continue to remain intact. If they agree with the ruling, then the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to pick up the case. The Supreme Court has reviewed ACA two other times, in 2012 and 2015. Both times, the court ruled the law was constitutional. It’s unclear when this review would occur, but experts suggest it could be reviewed sometime in 2020.

As the newly-Democratic majority settles into the 116th House of Representatives, there are indications there will be an upcoming vote forcing the House to intervene and defend the ACA in the lawsuit while it is appealed. Defense of the ACA has already been proposed in the new set of House rules.

Check out these articles for more coverage on the ACA ruling:

Employer Penalties are Still Rolling In

In the meantime, the ACA is still the law. The IRS continues to hand down major penalties. They started to assess “A penalties” based on not meeting the 95% threshold for offering eligible employees coverage for the 2016 filing year. In January 2019, we expect the IRS will move on to assessing “B penalties” for one or more employees who were eligible, not offered affordable coverage, and received a subsidy on the exchange.  For more on penalties, see 9 Reasons Why Your Organization Might Receive an ACA Penalty

How Tango Health Can Help

We have helped our clients understand and manage the complexities of ACA compliance and have reported for 100% of our clients on time for all three consecutive years. Now that ACA penalties are a reality, we have assisted our clients to significantly reduce their exposure. Our team of experts researches the issues behind penalty notices and manages the penalty response process. Learn more about our Tango ACA Compliance & Reporting Solution

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