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, is affecting employer decisions about their health benefits. The tax takes effect in 2018.

Consumers are trying to figure out how they’ll absorb the double-digit increases in health insurance premiums that many insurers have announced for next year. American employers, meanwhile, are worried about what will happen to health costs several years out, in 2018.

In response to blistering criticism from a consumer group, California’s Obamacare exchange vowed to fix longstanding enrollment and tax-related errors that have blocked consumers from getting coverage for months and left some with unforeseen bills.

Earlier this week, Wisconsin governor and 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker released his version of an Obamacare “repeal and replace” plan.

There’s also versions out there from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Governor Bobby Jindal (R-La.) There are yet others on Capitol Hill: the Republican Study Committee plan, the plan advanced by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), and the so-called “Burr-Hatch-Upton” plan. Republicans are often accused of having no alternative to Obamacare, but they actually have many.

One of the health law’s key protections was to cap how much consumers can be required to pay out of pocket for medical care each year. Now some employers say the administration is unfairly changing the rules that determine how those limits are applied, and they’re worried it will cost them more.

To avoid the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “Cadillac tax” on rich benefit plans, companies are adding surcharges of $100 a month or more to wives and husbands of workers, hoping spouses will seek coverage elsewhere, new employer data shows.

Many Americans who bought health insurance through exchanges operated by states or the federal government have a good understanding of how their plan works, but also are afraid they can’t afford medical services, according to research published Monday by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

American families, promised they would save $2,500 a year on health insurance premiums, are bracing themselves to see just how much their costs will increase again next year.

Health insurers across the country are seeking premium increases of 20% to 40% or more. Some carriers requested only modest increases, largely because they priced premiums in line with expected medical expenses in the first year. But many others found enrollees are sicker and more costly than anticipated.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico requested a 52% increase for 2016 individual plans, but the hike has been denied by the state’s insurance regulator.

President Obama is jawboning regulators to lower rates, but that can only go so far when plans face multimillion dollar gaps between premium income and claims payments.

The IRS is penalizing universities for providing healthcare to student employees, and it’s hurting the very people the Affordable Care Act was supposed to help.

In June Forbes reported that under new IRS regulations, starting in July 2015, small businesses and universities that reimburse employees healthcare premiums or pay their health costs directly will be fined up to $36,500 a year per employee. A penalty that is 18 times greater than the $2000.00 employer mandate.

If the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the plaintiff in King v. Burwell (AIS Alert, 6/25/15), there was optimism among some employers that certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would crumble. With the law now more firmly in place, more employers are looking to private exchanges as a possible strategy to help sidestep the so-called Cadillac tax, which is slated to go into effect in 2018.