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President Signs Sweeping New Health Care Reform Law

Will Have Impact on Employers, Employees and Health Plans

March 25, 2010

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  As passed, the new law makes significant changes to how health care is provided in this country and to the requirements for insurance coverage for it.

Generally speaking, the new law will impact employers, employees and health plans maintained by employers in various ways, although the most significant changes are not slated to go into effect until 2014.

The new health care reform law affects many different areas--from mandated health insurance coverage to flexible spending arrangements to health savings accounts.  Examples of some of the major provisions include:

Immediate changes, with less impact on employer-provided benefit plans, include the elimination of lifetime caps on health insurance benefits, a Medicare prescription drug subsidy, and provisions allowing adult children to remain on their parents' insurance plans through the age of 26.

In addition to the items discussed above, the new law requires additional reporting, forms compliance, and provides for other taxes.  As a result, we anticipate that employers will need to make changes to their health plans (including their health plan documents), and possibly to certain benefits-related employment practices as well.

The new health care reform law is complex in many respects.  And more than 10 states have already filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the new law.  These factors, along with the Congress' immediate consideration of additional legislation to change certain aspects of the health care bill already passed, require employers to continually monitor the situation.

Miller Canfield will continue to provide updates as the scope of the law and its employer mandates become clear.  If you have any immediate questions about the new health care reform law or its impact on your business or health plans, contact your Miller Canfield attorney.  You may also contact:

Megan Norris

Gary Glenn