Will the Individual Mandate be Delayed?

healthcareBy now, it is obvious that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) website (healthcare.gov) has been an unmitigated disaster.  Although there are millions of uninsureds who will be seeking coverage through the new healthcare exchanges, there are also millions of people losing their old plans because of actions by their employer or insurance carrier.  For example, this week, we learned that 300,000 people in Florida will be dumped from Blue Cross and Blue Shield because the old plan is not compliant with the ACA.  Click here for this story.

So, the question has arisen, how is it fair to penalize millions of people who are now required to buy insurance through the exchanges, but cannot do so because of technical glitches and problems beyond their control?  Senator Rubio has introduced a bill in Congress to delay the penalties associated with the individual mandate, and now there are rumblings that the President may also go along with such a plan, or take action on his own new balance cc outlet.   One thing which is almost certain to happen is that the deadline for obtaining coverage  will be extended to allow more time for the website to be fixed.   For example, in 2014, the original plan was for open enrollment to run through March 31, even though the individual penalty would kick in if coverage was not purchased by February 15 (with coverage starting in March).  It is almost certain that the February 15 deadline will be extended to March 31, so the deadlines run together (which would make more sense).   It is also possible that both deadlines will be further extended, or the individual mandate altogether waived for 2014. For example, the current law provides for pro rata penalties if an individual has more than two months of non-coverage.  If the website is still having problems in early 2014, the Administration could provide waivers or exceptions which would allow longer periods of non-coverage without a penalty.


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HR Headaches is a blog for Human Resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel to get the latest news, analysis and tips in the area of labor and employment law. Every day there are new court decisions, agency interpretations, and regulations which affect the workplace, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many employers to keep current. HR Headaches is dedicated to providing information in a practical, no-nonsense manner to help employers avoid legal disputes and keep policies up to date.
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