The decision to delay implementation of the business exchange mandate of the Affordable Care Act was made in part to accommodate government agencies that may have been a little behind schedule, but also to encourage companies to continue their hiring efforts seen in recent months. For a number of businesses nationwide, though, the announcement came a little too late.
Major companies nationwide had recently been trying to create and finalize measures that would have helped them work around the ACA's rule that all employees working more than 30 hours per week had to be covered by some sort of health insurance, but those plans were scuttled by the decision to delay for a year, according to a report from CNNMoney. Of course, those plans will simply have to be put back into place at the start of 2015, when the mandate will go into effect. For now, however, employees at those companies who now have more uncertain work situations may experience some difficulties as businesses scramble to re-accommodate before going through the process all over again around this time next year.
Current estimates show that only 3 percent of all employers nationwide, of which there are some 5.7 million, will actually have to adhere to the coverage mandate when it does go into effect, and most of those already provide insurance to their full-time workers, the report said. However, despite this fact, most Americans say that the rule is far too confusing for companies to follow, and overly burdensome. Many owners, in turn, believe that this delay could end up being a positive for them and their bottom lines, as it may signal that the mandate that they provide coverage to their workers could be eliminated altogether if significant steps are not made over the course of 2014.
On both small and large businesses, many employers may restrict certain hourly workers to less than 30 hours per week to avoid being forced to offer coverage. It remains to be seen whether the ACA will significantly "bend the curve" with respect to rising medical costs. Some larger businesses with older employees may decide that they will be better off financially paying employees a higher salary and moving them to exchanges rather than continuing to provide group health insurance.