As Congress and the Trump administration discuss repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act, companies are watching warily. While the ACA is primarily known for implementing the state exchanges that provide health coverage to the uninsured, many of the legislation's provisions affect employer health plans.

Republicans in Congress started the year by passing a reconciliation bill that allows them to eliminate many parts of the ACA, including all of its tax measures and other components that would have an effect on the federal budget. Under the reconciliation bill, Congress could also do away with such ACA features as the employer mandate and the individual mandate.

But Congress can't use the reconciliation measure to get rid of provisions of the ACA that don't directly affect the budget, such as reporting requirements. And there seems to be a consensus that the GOP won't eliminate some popular components of the law, such as the provisions banning exclusions for pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits on benefits, and those allowing children to continue getting coverage through a parent's policy up to age 26.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.