Tag Archives: Obamacare

US Supreme Court Agrees To Hear ACA Contraception Cases

The ACA’s contraceptive mandate has been challenged in several lawsuits across the country since the ACA became law. I have written about a few of them in this blog.  Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear two cases challenging that mandate—Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius.  The issue in both cases is whether companies may decline to provide contraceptive coverage to employees based on the religious beliefs of the companies’ owners.  The principal argument in those cases is that the contraceptive mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Stay tuned to see how the Supreme Court decides this controversial issue.

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6th Circuit Rejects Religious Challenge To ACA

Recently the 6th Circuit denied an appeal by Eden Foods, Inc. (“Eden Foods”) that claimed the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Michael Potter, a Roman Catholic, and the sole owner and shareholder of Eden Foods, filed suit against the federal government claiming that the contraception mandate would interfere with his and his company’s exercise of religion.

The Court held that a secular, for profit company is not entitled to protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The three judge panel followed the lead of another 6th Circuit Panel’s September 17th ruling upholding the denial of an injunction against the contraception mandate.  That case was filed by auto parts manufacturer Autocam Corp.  The Autocam opinion concluded that the right of free exercise of religion never extends to secular, for profit companies.

In contrast to these decisions by the 6th Circuit the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to individuals and secular organizations.

The U.S. Supreme Court may have to resolve this issue.  Stay tuned!

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ACA Marketplace Notice Must Be Sent By October 1

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all employers that are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to provide written notice of the health insurance  “Marketplace” to all employees on or before October 1, 2013.  The notice must be provided  even if the employer will not have to provide coverage under the ACA.

Employers are generally subject to the FLSA if they are engaged in interstate commerce or have an annual business volume of at least $500,000.   If your business is covered by the FLSA and you have not yet sent the Marketplace Notice, make sure you do so no later than October 1st.   A model notice can be obtained from the Department of Labor’s website.

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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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