Tag Archives: healthcare

Obama Puts the Brakes on Obamacare

Late yesterday the Department of Treasury announced that the Obama administration will provide employers that are covered by the Affordable Care Act an additional year before they are required to provide health care coverage to “full time employees” or pay a penalty.  Currently, the ACA defines full time employees as those employees who work an average of 30 hours or more per week.  This 1 year extension means employers now have until January 1, 2015 before they will have to “pay or play” under the ACA.

The extension is based on the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.  It will be interesting to see whether any other changes to the ACA, such as a change in the definition of full time employees, occurs before January 1, 2015.  Stay tuned for further updates!

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Owner of Domino’s Escapes ACA Contraception Mandate

A Michigan federal judge on Wednesday exempted the founder of Domino’s Pizza from implementing the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate at an office complex he owns, saying he has shown that abiding by the health law would “substantially burden” his ability to exercise his religion.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff granted a preliminary injunction on behalf of Thomas Monaghan and his Domino’s Farm Corp. complex located in Ann Arbor, Mich. Monaghan, a Catholic, said providing employees coverage for contraception and abortion is immoral and at odds with his religious beliefs.

Judge Zatkoff’s order prevents the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing the contraception mandate at Domino’s Farm. HHS failed to show that having Monaghan conform to the law served a compelling public interest that outweighed the harm caused by having him violate his religion, the ruling said.

This year the governement has exempted many religious organizations from ACA’s contraception mandate.  It will be interesting to see how many other private businesses are able to convince a court that this exemption should also apply to them based on their religious beliefs.

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ACA Retaliation

Most “large employers” ( those employers with at least 50 employees working an average of at least 30 hours a week)  are very aware that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes numerous deadlines and commitments for them  in 2013 and 2014.  But you may not know that the ACA also prohibits retaliation against employees who make complaints that the ACA has been violated.  The US Department of Labor issued an interim rule last week which provides guidance on this issue.

Workers who give their employer, the federal government or a state attorney general information about acts or omissions that they reasonably believe violate Title I of the ACA — which prohibits denying insurance because of pre-existing conditions or using factors like medical history to set premium rates — will be protected from retaliation under Section 18C.

The ACA also prohibits retaliation against employees who receive health insurance tax credits that could translate to a tax penalty for certain large employers.

Retaliation complaints under Section 18C have to be filed within 180 days of when the alleged violation occurs, which means when the retaliatory decision has been made and communicated to the worker.  The limitations clock starts ticking when the employee is aware or reasonably should be aware of that decision, OSHA said, though the time for filing a complaint can be tolled.

Complaints under Section 18C don’t have to be written down, or be in English. An oral complaint can suffice, and if the complainant can’t file in English, any language will do. As long as the employee consents, any person can file a complaint on a worker’s behalf under the rule.

The take away for employers:  If an employee complains that you have violated the ACA take the complaint seriously, investigate it, and make sure the employee is not retaliated against in any way.

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