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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Another Obamacare Delay for Business

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I work a flexible schedule for a big retailer. Does this delay my access to company health coverage?

It might. But it also might delay a cut in your hours.  Once the ACA is fully implemented, large companies must offer coverage to anybody who puts in at least 30 hours a week. Analysts expect big-box chains, restaurants and hotels to offer insurance to some workers who currently lack it but also to limit hours for others to avoid coverage requirements.

Shrinking the big-employer target in 2015 from insuring nearly all workers to 70 percent gives more time for those adjustments to take place, analysts say.

There are elections in November. Isn’t this mainly about Democratic damage control?

That’s what Republicans say. Besides seeing the delay as new evidence that the law is fatally flawed, they depict it as political camouflage for vulnerable Democrats, as a way to avoid potential October stories blaming job-market disruption on the health law.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said Democrats don’t believe they “can survive politically if Obamacare is allowed to fully go into effect. This is just one more admission that the law is bad for hardworking taxpayers and American employers."

Democrats say the extension is about giving employers more leeway to comply with a very complex law.

Do I have to still buy coverage if my employer doesn’t offer it?

In most cases, yes. Unless you get an exemption, you must enroll by March 31 or pay a penalty.

People whose companies don’t offer coverage can purchase insurance in online state and federal marketplaces. If they earn less than $46,960 for an individual or $78,120 for a family of three, they could qualify for a subsidy. 

Why do employers get a reprieve from ACA requirements but not individuals?

It’s a question many are asking. Some believe the administration will yield to pressure to delay the mandate for individuals, especially since so many of the online marketplaces proved difficult to navigate.

“How are you going to penalize people who didn’t make it through the system?” wonders Joseph Antos, a health care economist at the American Enterprise Institute. 

Tue, Feb 11 2014

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