Two Important Changes to Implementation of Affordable Care Act (ACA)

On July 14, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Treasury Department, and the Obama Administration have announced two important changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. 1) Employer Mandate Postponed: The ACA requirement for employers with at least 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage is now scheduled to take effect in January of 2015 instead of 2014. While some experts say the one-year delay of the employer mandate probably won’t have a huge impact on health reform implementation (because a majority of 50+ employers already offer health coverage), the postponement does give the Treasury Department and employers more time to work out the necessary coverage reporting requirements. 2) Coverage and Income Verification Delayed: The government also announced it will move to an “honor system” in 2014 for coverage and income verification. States operating marketplaces (i.e., exchanges) will not be required to confirm a consumer’s statement that he or she does not have employer-sponsored coverage, nor will states have to verify reported income, which determines a person’s eligibility for a premium subsidy. Income verification has been postponed until 2015. However, consumers who misrepresent their income on the application for exchange coverage are subject to a penalty of up to...