On January 20, President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States and that same day he issued an Executive Order to take a little steam out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148).

The Executive Order on the Affordable Care Act makes it very clear that the administration’s ultimate goal is to repeal the law. But the reality of this order is that some temporary guidelines will be set while the legislature takes on the challenge of reforming health care.

Perhaps of most interest to the staffing and recruiting industry is Section 2 of the order:

Sec. 2. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies (agencies) with authorities and responsibilities under the Act shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.

In other words, many of the penalties associated with the law that we have been preparing to avoid through offering things like a minimum value plan (MVP) or minimum essential coverage (MEC) are in a word, moot. For now.

However, this certainly doesn’t mean that there is no longer a necessity to comply with the law and properly file the forms.

For COATS Staffing Software, we have been working on the tracking and reporting aspects of this law since its inception. In 2014, we held nine webinars in advance of the law’s implementation. In 2015, we learned the specifications for the 1095C form followed shortly by the 1094C form. Both required significant programming to the software.

“A tremendous amount of time and effort went to study and understanding the regulations – and often it wasn’t very clear; yet, the threat of a penalty from the government for a lack of proper reporting was still there,” said Karen Connor, Vice President of Business Development. “That said, we’re very proud of the work we accomplished to have everything ready to go for tax season – with the full knowledge that our users had software that would assist in their compliance.”

The law required many companies to have a whole new system of tracking, recording, and reporting. And all of it is complex.

“Each user had different circumstances, different plans, different billing strategies and all of that led to further complexity with regard to building a tool that we ultimately provided to our clients. Additionally, we almost stopped selling and solely focused on training as existing clients needed help understanding the new law and how to use the tool we built,” Connor said.

But with the potential of “repeal and replace,” it puts software designers in a holding pattern as to whether or not we will go back to square one with the reporting requirements. Further, clients are going to have to start thinking about how they bill clients for the ACA and if those rate changes will also need to be repealed or replaced.

“We’ve been tracking this law for a very long time and we’ve stayed ahead of the curve. Regardless of what happens, we’ll stay ahead of the changes again,” she said.

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