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Obama Signs Bill Repealing Health Care Reform Law Vouchers

April 19, 2011
Related Topics: Future Workplace, Benefit Design and Communication, Health and Wellness, Latest News
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President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that repeals a health care reform law provision that would have required employers to offer low-wage employees company-paid vouchers to buy coverage in state health insurance exchanges.

The voucher repeal provision is part of an appropriations measure, HR 1473, that the president signed April 15 after final congressional passage of the bill.

The voucher provision, which Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, backed when the health care reform legislation was working its way through Congress, prompted strong opposition from business groups, which said it would boost employer costs and add administrative complexity.

Under the provision, starting in 2014 employers would have been required to offer vouchers to employees with household incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level and whose premium contributions were between 8 and 9.8 percent of their household income.

The value of the voucher, though, would have been equal to what an employee’s employer would have paid if the worker enrolled in a plan with the largest employer premium contribution. Employees then could have used the voucher to buy coverage in an exchange and keep the difference in cash if the plan they purchased cost less.

Also last week, Obama signed a measure, HR 4, that repeals a health care reform provision that would have required employers doing more than $600 in business with a corporate vendor to furnish Form 1099 statements.

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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