The Affordable Care Act’s employer insurance mandate, one of the most controversial elements of the health care reform law, has been the center of focus for home care agencies nationwide, and two congressmen are now taking action. As part of the mandate, companies with 50 or more full-time employees will be fined for failing to offer affordable health care coverage beginning in 2015.
Recently, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Ron Kind (R-WI) sent a bipartisan letter to the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), emphasizing the negative impacts the mandate will have on Medicaid-dependent home and community-based providers.
The congressmen say these providers could face significant financial burdens when complying with the mandate, and are asking that HHS work on finding a solution for them.
“These providers … have raised unique concerns about complying with the ACA’s employer responsibility requirements,” the letter states. “We … request that you explore options to assist Medicaid-dependent home and community-based providers in fulfilling the ACA’s employer requirements.”
Due to challenging economic conditions and a tight budget, Medicaid programs are strained, causing cuts in provider payments across much of the country, the congressmen write. Because of this, providers struggle with offering employer health coverage for their direct care workers and caregiver employees.
“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 states.
The employer mandate was postponed for one year until the beginning of 2015, but some in the home health industry have been asking for permanent exemption from the requirement since July 2013.
The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) is leading the movement through its representation of more than 30,000 providers of home care and hospice services.
To read the full letter, click here.
Written by Emily Study