Obama administration announces delay to health insurance provision

U.S. Health Insurance
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Health insurance provision for large businesses delayed

A major development has emerged in the U.S. concerning the Affordable Care Act. The federal law has been a major source of controversy since its passage in 2010, but the law’s various provisions have yet to be dismantled by any challenger. Thus far, the Obama administration has been the only party capable of introducing any significant changes to the federal law, many of which have been funneled through the Department of Health and Human Services. This week, however, the Obama administration announced a significant change to one of the law’s primary health insurance provisions.

Provision to take effect in 2015 rather than 2014

This week, the Obama administration announced that the provision requiring large employers to provide health insurance coverage to employees by 2014 has been delayed. Now, employers have until 2015 to comply with this provision before facing major penalties under federal law. The administration suggests that the delay comes from listening to the concerns coming from businesses throughout the country. Many of these businesses have apparently informed the administration that they would be unable to meet the deadline established by the provision due to the lack of flexibility given to them by the law.

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U.S. Health InsuranceBusinesses express concern regarding provision’s implications

The provision requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance coverage for all full-time staff. Those that fail to comply with this provision face a $2,000 fine per employee. The law recognizes full-time workers as those that are paid for 30 hours or more of work per week, or 130 hours in a month. The provision is relatively straightforward on its surface, but businesses have been having trouble with complying with the provision and recognizing whether their staff can be considered full-time or not due to complications concerning vacation and sick time, as well as how seasonal workers fit into the provision.

Delay unlikely to affect Affordable Care Act as a whole

Delaying the provision is not expected to have a major impact on the rest of the Affordable Care Act. Even with the delay accounted for, the Affordable Care Act is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2014. The provision itself is only expected to affect a small percentage of businesses, as most of the country’s businesses — approximately 96% — have fewer than 50 employees.

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