For all that employers have to be concerned about when it comes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the fear that changing one of their plans means losing grandfathered status for all plans is not one of them, federal agencies clarified last week.

Previously, Health, Labor and Treasury Department regulators held that grandfathered status would be lost for all plans if employers changed one. However, in an updated Q&A on the Health Department Web site, the agencies appear to have had a change of heart, stating jointly that grandfathered status will be maintained or lost on a “benefit package-by-benefit package basis.”

“If any benefit package ceases grandfather status, it does not affect the grandfather status of the other benefit packages,” the agencies state.

So, the agencies are saying that, for example, if your HMO loses grandfathered status, your PPO or POS plan can still maintain grandfathered status. That’s only fair, I think.

Will this new guidance affect your plan offerings for next year? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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