by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
…Until Obamacare begins. Although the employer mandate has been postponed until 2015, the individual exchange market enrollment period still starts on October 1, 2013. Individuals may qualify to receive premium assistance subsidies if their health care premiums exceed 9.5% of household income.
Why the delay?
Small businesses with over 50 employees (these are the businesses that are affected by the employer mandate), are anxious and resistant to this provision within the federal health law. Employers who do not offer health insurance will face a $2,000 penalty per employee, minus the first 30 workers. Employers even face a penalty if they do offer health coverage to employees. If an employee cannot afford employer-sponsored coverage and qualifies for a premium assistance subsidy via an exchange established by a state, that employer is fined $3,000.
For an employer to avoid these penalties, they must be aware of each employee’s household income – meaning other streams of income beyond the employee’s salary/wages along with calculating the number of dependents in that household. The complexity of this information reporting requirement poses as a major reason for delay. Employers face so much uncertainty due to this complex reporting process.
On top of this matter, an employer must offer a federally qualified health plan to workers and cover at least 60% of the actuarial value.
And the IRS declares full-time employment to be 30 hours a week. Ridiculous.