Obamacare changes relevant to businesses

JUST WHEN YOU THINK you have somewhat of a handle on the rules and timetables for the Affordable Care Act (ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare), out of the blue come changes — and not just the nibbling-around-the-edges kind. Business owners and managers need a scorecard at least or a team of lawyers at best just to keep up.

As of Nov. 6, according to a health and tax policy organization called the Galen Institute (www.galen.org), 42 significant changes had been made to Obamacare since President Obama signed the far-reaching act into law on March 23, 2010. At least 24 of the changes were made unilaterally by President Barack Obama via executive order.

On Nov. 26, the day before Thanksgiving, the Obama administration acted again without congressional involvement and rewrote several additional provisions of the ACA.

Among the 334 pages worth of changes is this big one: The president is redefining what healthcare plans are “adequate” for larger employers (100-plus workers) to offer under the ACA. The president also wants insurers to pay for new benefits and hints that they might be forced to provide these benefits if they don’t do so voluntarily.

According to Kaiser Health News (kaiserhealthnews.org), the president’s new orders mandate that large employers provide more healthcare coverage than the ACA actually requires. The orders strike down plans now offered by 1,600 employers to three million workers, Kaiser reports. If these employers can’t find a way to cover the costs of increased coverage, they might have to drop coverage in other areas, perhaps for spouses or part-time workers.

It is imperative that business operators keep tuned to the latest news about Obamacare, because the ground is ever shifting. The Internet has great ACA-related resources, including the two mentioned in this column.


column by Baxter Troutman

BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Arcadia. A citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.