Home Health & Hospice

Legislators send letter to HHS Secretary contesting the ACA's employer mandate

Homecare Insider, June 23, 2014

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and Representative Ron Kind (D-Wisconsin) recently sent a bicameral letter to Sylvia Matthews Burwell, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), on the subject of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate.

Specifically, the letter sent by Senator Baldwin and Representative Kind focuses on the negative effect that the mandate will have on Medicaid-dependent post-acute providers, who are already suffering financially due to “the challenging economic conditions and tight budget environment.”

“We are concerned that Medicaid dependent home and community-based providers could face significant financial burdens in complying with the employer responsibility requirements in the ACA. The penalty for failing to provide health coverage to full-time employees would disproportionally affect these providers and their direct care workers, which may result in unemployment and reduced payment access to essential services,” the letter said. “[W]e urge you to continue to work with relevant stakeholders to find a viable solution to ensure that direct care workers can continue to provide vulnerable patients with home and community-based services under the ACA.”

The employer mandate requires all businesses with over 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees to provide health insurance for their full-time staff. Under the rule, employers of more than 100 full-time employees will need to cover 70% of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95% beginning in 2016 to avoid facing a penalty. Employers with 50-99 FTEs in 2014 will not be subject to the health insurance obligations or the penalty for failing to offer qualified health insurance until 2016.