Wow…. This is one we didn’t see coming.
Today the Obama administration announced that employers with fewer than 100 employees will not be required to offer health insurance until 2016. Repeat: the so-called employer mandate, which was already delayed by one year back in July, is being delayed another year for companies with 99 or fewer Full-Time Equivalent employees (FTEs).
Another significant change announced today is that larger companies – those with 100 or more FTEs – will only be required to offer health insurance to 70% of their full-time employees, which is a big decrease from the previous requirement to make coverage available to 95% of employees who work 30 hours per week or more.
For more information, you can tune into any major news outlet, but here’s an article from BenefitsPro.com.
The latest delay comes at a time when lawmakers are drafting a bill that would change the definition of full-time employee to an employee who works 40 hours per week or more, as reported in an HPA blog post earlier today.
What does the latest change mean for agents?
Today’s announcement is BIG. It means that employers with fewer than 100 employees – the vast majority of all companies in the United States – are not required to offer health insurance for the next 22 months. The play-or-pay calculations just became really easy for these groups. It also means that employers who are worried that offering coverage could hurt their lower-paid workers by blocking them from a government subsidy can make the decision to drop their health insurance without having to pay an across-the-board penalty.
For HPA partners, we’ll schedule a coaching call ASAP to help you understand the huge opportunity presented by this announcement. For agents who don’t yet have a private exchange site to help you take advantage of the opportunity, consider attending a free webinar.