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Affordability and Health Reform: If We Mandate, Will They (and Can They) Pay?

The Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund co-sponsored this briefing to explore the health reform proposals being considered which may impose responsibilities on both individuals and employers to have and help pay for coverage and whether they will be able to pay the amounts above the subsidies. Questions…

How Many Employers Could be Affected by the Cadillac Plan Tax?

As fall approaches, we can expect to hear more about how employers are adapting their health plans for 2016 open enrollments. One topic likely to garner a good deal of attention is how the Affordable Care Act’s high cost plan tax (HCPT), sometimes called the “Cadillac plan” tax or “Cadillac tax,” is affecting employer decisions about their health benefits. The tax takes effect in 2018.

The potential of facing an HCPT assessment as soon as 2018 is encouraging employers to assess their current health benefits and consider cost reductions to avoid triggering the tax. Some employers announced that they made changes in 2014 in anticipation of the HCPT, and more are likely to do so as the implementation date gets closer.

Data Note: Are Nonprofits Requesting an Accommodation for Contraceptive Coverage?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most private health insurance plans to provide coverage for a broad range of preventive services, including most contraceptives for women. This policy was at the center of a Supreme Court case brought forward by for-profit corporations (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga) that successfully claimed that the contraceptive coverage requirement violated their religious rights. Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear yet another challenge (Zubik v Burwell) to the contraceptive coverage requirement, this time brought by nonprofit corporations, claiming that the accommodation established by the federal government for religiously affiliated nonprofit employers with objections to contraception violates their religious rights.

Contraceptive-Only Plans: Questions and Answers

In this post on The Huffington Post, Alina Salganicoff and Laurie Sobel offer a Q&A on “contraceptive-only” plans, an approach mentioned during oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court case Zubik v. Burwell. In the Zubik case, a group of religiously affiliated nonprofits with religious objections to providing birth control coverage seek an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring most plans to offer such coverage without cost-sharing.

Tax Subsidies for Private Health Insurance

This brief describes the different forms of tax assistance for private health insurance, including subsidies offered through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces and benefits for people who are self-employed or who have employer-based coverage. The brief also provides examples of how the subsidies work and how the amounts may differ by income and type of coverage.