Bypassing the legislative process, the Obama administration has once again delayed the deadline for employers to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates – this time until 2016.
According to the ACA, employers with 50 to 99 employees must provide approved health coverage to employees who work 30 or more hours. Employers have caught another break with the 2016 extension. Employers with 100 or more employees aren’t doing too bad either; in 2015, they’ll only have to provide coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees.
Muddy Waters of Eligibility and Reporting Transparency
In reality, the delay of the employer mandate is disastrous because it undermines the core effectiveness of Obamacare. According to the law, you’re only eligible for subsidized coverage on the Obamacare exchanges if your employer has not offered you “adequate and affordable” coverage.
But what happens if your employer doesn’t have to report whether it has offered you coverage? Then the administration has to rely on the “honor system” to determine whether you’re eligible for subsidies. This means the accuracy of the checks and balances that are supposed to take place at tax time for subsidy recipients could be in jeopardy.
What About the Little Guy?
Big companies once again catch all the breaks. The employer mandate needs to be repealed as well as the individual mandate. Individual Americans, including the self-employed, don’t have the time, money or resources to fight for their special interests to ensure they get the same benefits and exceptions provided to big business.
Most importantly, the playing ground needs to be leveled; we must allow individuals to write off their health insurance expenses just as big businesses have been doing for years.
How do you feel about this recent change? Will it hurt or help Obamacare? How will it affect you?
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.