In a letter sent today, over 170 businesses, organizations, and national, state and local trade associations endorsed legislation to repeal a mandate that requires large employers to automatically enroll employees into a health care plan if the employee fails to voluntarily choose or decline coverage. The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care (E-FLEX) Coalition spearheaded the effort in support of the Auto Enroll Repeal Act, S. 2546, sponsored by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
"RILA appreciates Senator Isakson's leadership in repealing this provision under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which increases uncertainty for employers and threatens the employer-sponsored health system," said Christine Pollack, vice president for government affairs at RILA. "Retailers are working to comply with the law and it is important that Congress make commonsense adjustments and repeal provisions such as auto enroll in order to ease the law's administrative burdens the law puts on America's job creators," Pollack continued.
The auto enrollment mandate, a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), would result in an administrative nightmare for employers and could subject employees to health care premiums for coverage they may not want or need. Businesses are concerned individuals may end up enrolled in a plan that does not fit their specific health needs or is not accepted by their health providers.
The over 170 job creators on the letter say, "the automatic enrollment requirement is redundant, expensive and unnecessarily burdensome for employers without increasing employees' access to coverage." The letter was signed by 51 companies and national organizations and 120 state and local associations.
"We thank Senator Isakson for taking the initiative in addressing the confusing and unnecessary auto enrollment requirement under the health care law. The restaurant industry workforce consists of thousands of part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers. As it stands, the auto enrollment requirement will have damaging impacts on both restaurant owners and their employees- leaving much misinterpretation for employees about their decision on coverage and creating additional administrative burdens for employers. The Auto Enroll Repeal Act will help alleviate the potential financial burden placed on employees who inadvertently miss opt-out deadlines and free restaurant owners from additional unnecessary paperwork," said Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs at NRA.
"The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), representing the supermarket industry, strongly supports Senator Isakson's legislation (S. 2546) to address a looming ACA mandate requiring employers to "auto-enroll" and charge employees health premiums without their express consent. Senator Isakson's legislation removes some confusion and redundancy for food retailers and wholesalers already in the process of complying with ACA provisions requiring employers to offer minimal, essential health coverage," said Rob Rosado, Director of Government Relations at FMI.
The letter notes that the Department of Labor has acknowledged this complexity in pushing off its implementation and compliance has been waived until rules can be clarified for this complicated provision of the law.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.
The E-Flex Coalition represents employers who create millions of jobs each year, employ a significant workforce in the U.S., offer flexible working environments for employees, and are a leading contributor to the nation's economic job recovery. Members of the E-Flex Coalition are dedicated to the common goal of creating solutions for both large and small employers and are working to help ensure that employer-sponsored coverage – the backbone of the U.S. health care system – remains a competitive and affordable option for employers and for employees whether full-time, part-time, temporary, or seasonal workers.
RILA, the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, promotes consumer choice and economic freedom through public policy and industry operational excellence. Our members provide millions of jobs and operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad. RILA members offer quality and affordable health care to their employees and dependents, and are leaders in benefits design by customizing plans to meet their workforces' specific needs.