“Most employers won't face a fine next year if they fail to offer workers health insurance, the Obama administration said Monday, in the latest big delay of the health-law rollout.
The Treasury Department, in regulations outlining the Affordable Care Act, said employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers won't have to comply with the law's requirement to provide insurance or pay a fee until 2016. Companies with more workers could avoid some penalties in 2015 if they showed they were offering coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers.
The move came after employers pressured the Obama administration to peel back the law's insurance requirements. Some firms had trimmed workers' hours to below 30 hours a week to avoid paying a penalty if they didn't offer insurance.
A senior administration official said the shift was a response to businesses' concerns, though the official said no one reason was behind the change.
Under the original 2010 health law, employers with the equivalent of at least 50 full-time workers had to offer coverage or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 a worker beginning in 2014. Last year, the administration delayed the requirement for the first time by moving it to 2015.
The new rules for companies with 50 to 99 workers would cover about 2% of all U.S. businesses, which include 7% of workers, or 7.9 million people, according to 2011 Census figures compiled by the Small Business Administration. The rules for companies with 100 or more workers affect another 2% of businesses, which employ more than 74 million people.”
“The new regulations are likely to help employers who currently don't provide health coverage to certain employee groups by allowing them to temporarily continue that practice for at least some workers, said Paul Hamburger, a health-care attorney at Proskauer Rose in Washington.
But employers remain subject to a $3,000 penalty each time one of those workers buys coverage on a state health-care exchange and qualifies for subsidized premiums, he said, after a preliminary review of the new regulations.” - Health-Law Mandate Put Off Again, WSJ, 02/11/2014
Link to the entire article appears below:
Obama Rewrites ObamaCare. Another day, another lawless exemption, once again for business, WSJ, 02/11/2014
Obama validates the conservative case against the employer mandate, AEI, 02/11/2014