July 02, 2013
Obama administration to delay employer mandates

Last month I discussed the problem small businesses were going to face in meeting Obamacare's employer mandate requirement. Only one insurance carrier is interested in participating in the state's small business health care exchange (SHOP), and only in four counties at that. It's a real problem for small businesses in the state because they must purchase plans through the exchanges to qualify for Obamacare's tax credits and other incentives.

But now it looks like small businesses will get a reprieve, and the state's Health Benefit Exchange (HBE) board will get more time to figure out how to make the small business exchange more attractive to insurance carriers. Bloomberg is reporting that the Obama administration will delay the employer mandate until 2015:

Businesses won't be penalized next year if they don't provide workers health insurance after the Obama administration decided to delay a key requirement under its health-care law, two administration officials said.

The decision will come in regulatory guidance to be issued later this week. It addresses vehement complaints from employer groups about the administrative burden of reporting requirements, though it may also affect coverage provided to some workers.

What happens next is unclear. As a report to the HBE board noted in May, "The availability of small business tax credits, that are supposed to only be available through the Exchange in 2014, outside the SHOP is unknown and is pending IRS/Treasury rule making sometime in 2013." Small businesses that are already providing health coverage for their employees will remain interested in tax credits even though the mandate will be delayed.

As far as attracting more carriers before the delayed mandate kicks in 2015, the HBE noted a few problems in coaxing carrier participation: that the "value of the SHOP is unclear" and that "at least one carrier perceives that participation in the SHOP brings with it additional insurance risk that they are reluctant to assume."

**Update**
After the news broke this afternoon, the Treasury Department posted an explanation on its blog of what is likely to happen next. Treasury pledged to work with employers to simplify the reporting process, but will still encourage businesses to voluntarily report on the health care coverage they will provide in 2014, even though it will not be mandated and no penalties will be imposed. They concluded, "During this 2014 transition period, we strongly encourage employers to maintain or expand health coverage. Also, our actions today do not affect employees' [emphasis added] access to the premium tax credits available under the ACA (nor any other provision of the ACA)."

Posted by Adam Faber at July 02, 2013 03:03 PM | Email This
Comments
1. They really need to get this turkey past the mid-terms before it goes into full effect. Once this thing hits the streets and Obama's young supporters see the price tag, Democrats will have a lot of 'splianin' to do.

Pelosi wasn't sh*ttin' when she said "We've got to pass it to see what's in it." Whoops! Now they know!

The biggest crime here is that a real fix was so easy and maybe ten or fifteen pages that could have been enacted as soon as it was signed. But Big Government never does anything easy. They do what makes THEM bigger and gives THEM the power, screwing us in the process.

Posted by: Oscarphone on July 2, 2013 06:06 PM
2. Doomed before it is ever implemented. Train wreck social policy so bad it makes other failed and bankrupt Democrat welfare programs and subsidies look successful.

President Me fails again.

Posted by: Leftover on July 2, 2013 08:35 PM
3. President Incompetent is a master, self-serving political/campaign shark.

Too bad we need a leader, not a campaigner in chief... but I bet the loud low information lefty's can't tell the difference ... bought easily with the cheap temptation of golden calves.

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on July 2, 2013 08:39 PM
4. We can really screw the insurance companies, next time a gop president is in office, they can just say they won't follow the law and give waivers to everyone. Yep, you sorry ass insurance companies, here's the rule: you are going to provide coverage for all regardless of pre-existing conditions, you are going to provide insurance for minors until they are halfway to old age, and in return we promise to make everyone have insurance or pay a penalty by 2014...I mean 2015, or 2050 ....well, at least until you are all out of business.

Posted by: doug on July 2, 2013 09:41 PM
5. Small business -- blah blah blah....

What is the Republican-Wingnut definition of 'small business'?

Posted by: headless on July 2, 2013 09:43 PM
6. headless, the definition is businesses with less than 50 employees.

Posted by: Shard on July 2, 2013 10:02 PM
7. The ACA could spell the ruination of Obama's legacy. It apparently is not particularly popular with the younger folks. These folks are counted on by the Democrats to win elections. Are the Democrats alienating the voters under 30?

Posted by: Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. on July 3, 2013 10:16 AM
8. Shard,
Wrong. See SBA website. Typically, under 250 employees and $XM (believe it was $4M) per year in revenues, however those exact numbers depend on type of business (retail, construction, etc.)

Posted by: tc on July 3, 2013 12:52 PM
9. Here is the actual table defining small business by industry.

Posted by: tc on July 3, 2013 12:53 PM
10. tc, I was talking about Obamacare's definition of businesses that aren't required to offer coverage at all. That's any business below 50 employees. The Small Business Administration definitions of a small business don't have anything to do with Obamacare.

Posted by: Shard on July 3, 2013 01:20 PM
11. To a Republican, "small" business starts at 5000 employees.

Posted by: SmoledMan on July 3, 2013 04:52 PM
12. Obama's latest move to break the law in order to spare his party more fallout from Obamacare---incredibly bizarre and democrats should be embarrassed as heck at what he's pulling this time. And you democrats should see the anti-Obama signs that angry egyptians are holding up, which the dinosaur media don't want you to know about---
It was a lie that the world would love obama. In fact, he is hated and disrespected worldwide. But look what they're saying in Egypt:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/03/15-anti-obama-photos-from-tahrir-square-protests-that-you-probably-havent-seen/

Posted by: Monterey on July 3, 2013 10:02 PM
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