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Government Delays Key Provision of Healthcare Reform Law

From: Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, LLC

The Treasury Department announced that the government is delaying a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the so-called "employer mandate," until 2015. The mandate was supposed to go into effect on January 1, 2014 and now large employers will have an additional year to figure out this complex requirement. This delay, however, does not affect other major provisions of the ACA that will have a significant impact on the ambulance industry beginning in 2014.        

The employer mandate requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalents) to offer all full-time employees and their dependents "affordable" healthcare coverage that provides "minimum value." Not providing this type of coverage could subject large employers to hefty fines. 

Unfortunately, the rules surrounding the employer mandate have been difficult to understand for many agencies. There are strict provisions detailing when coverage is deemed "affordable" and when coverage provides "minimum value," and these rules require employers to take a hard look at their insurance plans to see if the plans meet these parameters. In addition, employers have to look not only at the number of full-time employees that they have, but also the number of hours worked by part-time employees to determine whether they are subject to the mandate. Not to mention the penalty provisions and reporting requirements of the employer mandate are less than straightforward. 

Employers voiced their concerns about the complexity of the law and the government has decided to wait a year before it will require large employers to comply with the mandate. In its statement, the Treasury Department maintains that the delay will allow them to consider ways to simplify the requirements and provide time to adapt reporting systems while employers move toward making healthcare coverage affordable and accessible for their employees. The Department says it will publish formal guidance describing the transition within a week. 

This delay does not affect other key provisions of the Healthcare Reform law scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014, including the individual mandate, voluntary Medicaid expansion, and health insurance exchanges!

Guaranteed cash flow during transition.