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Obama administration announces delay of key healthcare reform provision for employers

July 3, 2013
by Mark Hagland, Healthcare Informatics
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The Obama administration changed course on July 2 on a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when it announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in the ACA’s employer mandate, which requires that larger employers provide health insurance coverage for their employees or pay penalties.

Corporations had objected to the mandate, which requires that businesses with 50 or more employees provide affordable quality insurance to their workers or pay a $2,000 fine per employee. The requirement will now take effect in January 2015, reported The New York Times and the Washington Post.

In a press release issued Tuesday, James A. Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, a national trade association representing corporate benefits managers, said, “We applaud the Obama administration’s decision to delay until 2015 employers’ reporting requirements, and potential employer penalty payments under the Affordable Care Act. This provides vital breathing room to implement the law in a more thoughtful and administrable way.”

Similarly, Neil Trautwein, vice president of the National Retail Federation, said, “This one-year delay will provide employers and businesses more time to update their healthcare coverage without threat of arbitrary punishment. The National Retail Federation,” he added, “has worked hard to engage and educate our diverse membership on the upcoming ACA requirements and consistently and empathetically called on the administration to delay these specific regulations. We appreciate the administration’s recognition of employer concerns, and hope it will allow for greater flexibility in the future.”

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