It’s almost impossible to escape the daily barrage of news stories, updates, conflicts and changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare. Whether it’s a lawsuit against the President claiming overreaching executive powers, the so-called Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision around contraceptive coverage, or the latest back and forth around the legality of the Advanced Premium Tax Credits around purchasing insurance coverage through a Federal Exchange, not a single day goes by without some sensational news story about this hotly debated legislation.
As a service provider, we are not only challenged by the responsibility of keeping up with the law and advising our clients on how the myriad of provisions may impact them, but we are also constantly challenged by how much and how often we should communicate these changes to them. The changes happen so fast that one wonders when it all becomes information overload. Case in point, two hours after a federal appeals court in Washington DC ruled that the federal government may not subsidize health insurance plans for people in 36 states that decided not to set up their own marketplaces under the law, a 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond VA took the opposite view, saying the subsidies are legal.
Now the administration will ask for a full 11-member appeals court to rule in something called an “en banc” review. Regardless of this ruling, legal experts now expect this to make its way to the Supreme Court, which begs the question in our 24/7 news cycle, when exactly is this “breaking news” and how are clients supposed to respond to the ongoing nature of these changes?
Our approach to date has been measured and deliberate. We have communicated the major provisions of the Law, those that we expect to eventually be implemented and how they may impact individual clients. We do so through a variety of means including direct client contact, webinars and seminars and various types of alerts. However, when we see ongoing changes that may or may not make their way to implementation we tend to see how they may evolve before blasting our clients with communication and advice that may or may not be relevant.
While we don’t have a crystal ball and will not take sides as it pertains to the legislation we do know that the politics will be ugly. It is sure to be a major issue leading up to the mid-term elections and one which will continue to evolve over time. Our clients can rest assured that once we have a firm sense of the direction of the legislation and the likelihood of implementation we will be the first to provide the details and how best to approach any challenges presented.