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One-Year Delay in Big Business Requirement Under Healthcare Law

The Obama administration has announced a one-year delay in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees offer coverage to their workers or pay a penalty...
July 10, 2013

The Obama administration has announced a one-year delay in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees offer coverage to their workers or pay a penalty. Administration officials said the delay was in response to employers’ concerns about the law’s reporting requirements. Most of the employers impacted by the delay already offer coverage to workers, an estimated 94 percent of employers with more than 50 workers offering health insurance.

The announcement does not delay the Oct. 1 scheduled start of the insurance exchanges (or “marketplaces”), or the subsidies intended to help individuals with low to middle incomes purchase coverage, or the requirement that most individuals purchase coverage or pay a fine. Several employer groups said they were pleased with the delay, including the National Retail Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Meanwhile, the administration also announced late last week that it would significantly scale back the health law’s requirements that new insurance marketplaces verify consumers’ income and health insurance status. Instead, the federal government will rely more heavily on consumers’ self-reported information until 2015, when it plans to have stronger verification systems in place. The federal government will not require the District and the 16 states that are running their own marketplaces to verify a consumer’s statement that they do not receive health insurance from their employer.

“The exchange may accept the applicant’s attestation regarding enrollment in eligible employer-sponsored plan without further verification,” according to the final rule. The federal government will, however, conduct an audit for the states where it is managing the exchanges.

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