By Christine Pollack, Vice President of Government Affairs
Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. In the last three years, it has become increasingly apparent that the law is administratively complex and burdensome for well-intentioned retail employers who want to provide employer-sponsored health coverage to their employees and families.
Within six months, millions of Americans will seek coverage through the state and federal insurance Exchanges or Marketplaces. In little over nine months, millions of American job creators must start complying with the employer mandate under the law. Yet, many questions remain for retailers and consumers alike.
The regulatory development process has been in full swing since the law was signed in 2010 yet the long-overdue proposed rules on the employer mandate were released on December 28, barely a year before the mandate will kick in. While the proposed rules included flexible policies which RILA has been advocating for, little time remains for businesses to plan, budget, and implement IT changes needed to comply with the numerous new federal requirements.
With nearly 170 million workers and their families receiving coverage through employer-sponsored health plans, this coverage is the backbone of the U.S. health system. The enactment of the ACA significantly changes this system – which has been voluntarily in existence for well over six decades.
A lot of work must be done between now and the end of the year to implement the changes required under the health law. The employer mandate under the ACA created administrative burdens and operational complexities for all business, and these burdens and complexities are heightened in the retail industry, which has a large variable hour workforce.
RILA is committed to ensuring the employer-sponsored health system remains a viable coverage option for decades to come. While the proposed rules included limited transition relief for certain employers, more must be done. As we countdown the months, weeks and days before the law goes into effect, RILA will continue to advocate to the White House, regulators in the federal departments and agencies, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill that all employers must be provided with transition relief under the health law.