Study: Employer Mandate Delay To Have Little Effect on ACA’s Cost
The one-year delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate will not have a significant effect on the law's costs or the number of people it covers, according to a study from the Urban Institute, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports. However, the report found that delaying the individual mandate would severely compromise the law's success (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/15).
The Obama administration earlier this month delayed the employer mandate by one year to address concerns about its reporting requirements. The mandate will require employers with at least 50 full-time employees to provide affordable health insurance or face a $2,000 fine per worker after the first 30 (California Healthline, 7/3).
The study determined that the delay will not result in more individuals enrolling for insurance coverage through the health insurance exchanges. The report stated, "Eliminating the employer mandate has very little effect on the distribution of coverage; it remains virtually identical to the case when the full ACA is in effect." That conclusion runs counter to concerns that the delay would lead to many more U.S. residents seeking subsidized coverage through the law's exchanges, thus increasing the cost of the ACA.
Meanwhile, the study concluded that delaying the individual mandate -- which Republican lawmakers have suggested, arguing that it is unfair to exempt businesses from the law but not individuals -- would reduce the number of people gaining access to coverage by four million and would likely significantly increase premiums ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.