By Lorie Hailey
WASHINGTON (July 5, 2013) — Employers now have until Jan. 1, 2015, to begin offering health insurance to employees working more than 30 hours per week.
“We have heard the concern that the reporting called for under the law about each worker’s access to and enrollment in health insurance requires new data collection systems and coordination. So we plan to re-vamp and simplify the reporting process,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama who oversees the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. “Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for businesses that more than meet the minimum standards in the law. We will convene employers, insurers and experts to propose a smarter system and, in the interim, suspend reporting for 2014.”
Because employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on this new reporting, payments won’t be collected for 2014, Jarrett said in her blog at whitehouse.gov. This will give employers time to test the new reporting systems and make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits “while staying the course toward making health coverage more affordable and accessible for their workers,” she said.
The administration is listening to business owners, Jarrett said, and is trying to be flexible in employer and insurer reporting as the law is implemented.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is on target to open Oct. 1. It will allow individuals and small businesses to learn about health coverage options and make side-by-side plan comparisons.
In her blog, Jarrett offers a “quick review” of what small and large businesses “need to know about the health law and how it will work.”
If you are a small business with less than 50 workers, the law’s employer shared responsibility policies does not apply to you. Instead, you will gain access to the Small Business Health Options Program that gives you the purchasing power of large businesses. In fact, you may be eligible for a tax credit that covers up to half the cost of insurance if you offer quality coverage to your employees
If you own a business with more than 50 workers that already offers full-time workers affordable, quality coverage, you are fine – we’ll work with you to keep that coverage affordable.
And if you are a company with more than 50 employees but choose not to offer quality affordable coverage, we have provided as much flexibility and transition time as possible for you to move to providing affordable, quality coverage to your workers.
Follow Lorie Hailey on Twitter, @loriehailey.