On March 31, 2014 President Obama signed into law Bill HR4302 – Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, sometimes called the “Doc Fix” bill. While the primary purpose of this bill was to prevent the automatic cuts to physician Medicare payments, this bill also included a significant modification to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This bill included a section that ends the limitations on deductibles that were set at $2,000/individual and $4,000/family within the ACA on small group employer sponsored health plans, and made the effective date retroactive to the original enactment of the ACA. The act states:
SEC. 213. ELIMINATION OF LIMITATION ON DEDUCTIBLES FOR EMPLOYER-SPONSORED HEALTH PLANS.
(a) IN GENERAL.-Section 1302(c) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148; 42 USC 18022(c)) is amended-
(1) by striking paragraph (2); and
(2) in paragraph (4)(A), by striking ”paragraphs (1)(B)(i) and (2)(B)(i)” and inserting ”paragraph (1)(B)(i)”.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.-Section 2707(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 300gg-6(b)) is amended by striking ”paragraphs (1) and (2)” and inserting ”paragraph (1)”.
(c) EFFECTIVE DATE.-The amendments made by this Act shall be effective as if included in the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148).
Read full bill . This bill originated and was passed in the House of Representatives last week, and then passed by the Senate yesterday evening before sending the bill to the President for his signature. This is welcome news to many employers who have been worried about the costs of providing coverage under these restrictions, especially those who are offering HDHPs paired with an HSA.
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