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We’re Listening to Businesses about the Health Care Law

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We’re Listening to Businesses about the Health Care Law

By ngoriel, SBA Official
Published: July 2, 2013

NOTE: This blog is by Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama and first appeared at WhiteHouse.gov on July 2. 

From the start, this Administration has encouraged an ongoing dialogue with the leaders of our nation’s businesses, large and small. There’s more to do, but working together we’ve helped rebuild our economy. Businesses have added 6.9 million private-sector jobsin the past 39 months and we’ve helped strengthen the middle class. Today, most Americans get their health insurance through their jobs and that will be the case moving forward.

To help restore middle class security, we are making health care more affordable to businesses, government, and American families through the Affordable Care Act. While major portions of the law have yet to be implemented, it’s already a little more affordable for businesses to offer quality health coverage to their employees. A recent reportsuggests that medical cost growth will be lower in 2014 than an already low rate in 2013, both “defying historical patterns.”

Starting next year, the law also ensures all Americans will have access to affordable health coverage. We are on target to open the Health Insurance Marketplace on October 1 where small businesses and ordinary Americans will be able to go to one place to learn about their coverage options and make side-by-side comparisons of each plan’s price and benefits before they make their decision.

As we implement this law, we have and will continue to make changes as needed. In our ongoing discussions with businesses we have heard that you need the time to get this right. We are listening. So in response to your concerns, we are making two changes.  

First, we are cutting red tape and simplifying the reporting process. 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. 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.

Second, we are giving businesses more time to comply. As we make these changes, we believe we need to give employers more time to comply with the new rules. Since employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on this new reporting, payments won’t be collected for 2014. This allows employers the 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.

Just like our effort to turn the 21 page application for health insurance into a 3 page application, we are working hard to adapt and to be flexible in employer and insurer reporting as we implement the law.

Meanwhile, here is a quick review of what small and big 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.

We are full steam ahead for the Marketplaces opening on October 1. For more information on what is coming check out: HealthCare.gov

 

About the Author:

Natale Goriel

SBA Official

Hi, my name is Natale and I'm serving as a Moderator for the SBA Community. Our goal is to continually improve this site to meet your needs, so we appreciate your feedback and participation.

Comments:

Good blog to give all access to affordable health coverage. Which is a boon in disguise. Hope it brings much required changes in the work Zone.
Thank you for this platform. Great news for most people! I am very interested in learning more about the new Affordable Care Act which will in-turn assist me when I'm talking health insurance. By the way, is there a possibility I could get in contact with someone regarding becoming a Market Place Specialist? Thank you in advance for your response! (Licensed Insurance Agent, Texas)
Hi there, try reaching out to partnership@cms.hhs.gov regarding your interest in becoming a Market Place  Specialist. 
Thanks for helping us understand this new law. I hope it does make health care more affordable as the public was led to believe.
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. Thanks all
"Second, we are giving businesses more time to comply." Out of the kindness of the administration's heart? No. Out of worry about how the draconian and expensive regs will affect mid-term elections! More duplicity from this White House.
Agree with the comment above about how this can cut red tape when the bill has over 2,000 pages and the government had to "pass this bill to see what is in it". In addition, there is absolutely no way that this Act will reduce business costs. We are already being told of 50-60% rate increases from insurance and I have not seen a single sign that anything in these policies will reduce the actual cost of healthcare to consumers.
I wonder if an employer can use the Valerie Jarret’s posting as an excuse for no providing insurance when a firm also has part time employees? These half-truths from the White House Senior Staff are a little disconcerting. Valerie neglected to mention that equivalent full-time employees must be taken into consideration when determining if the employer has reached 50 employee threshold for the Code Sec. 4980H penalty. She also neglected to mention full time is 30 hours a week, not the 40 most would perceive as full-time.
Over 2,000 pages....and we are told you are "cutting the red tape". I have 17 employees now and we are growing. Once I get close to (50), I am done. I won't have the special exemptions that the Unions have - or the members of Congress.

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