02 Jul Recently Announced ACA Delays

The Department of Labor has delayed the consumer protection cap on out-of-pocket expenses. Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act capped annual out-of-pocket expenses at $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. Now, with recent delays to the ACA, the cap will not take effect until 2015. This means consumers may pay more out-of-pocket than expected in 2014.

However, the delay could also mean that premiums won’t increase as fast. Premiums — the amount you pay each month — balance other costs. So when other costs are high, premiums stay low. But when other costs are capped to remain low, premiums will increase to balance the cost.

Employer Mandate Delay

On July 3rd, the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate to offer qualifying health insurance coverage for those employers with more than 50 full-time workers or otherwise face a penalty. Both this “sledgehammer” penalty, as well as the “tack-hammer” penalty which will fine employers who do not offer minimum essential coverage that is affordable (not greater than 9.5% of salary or federal poverty line) have been delayed until January 2015.

Nicotine Delay for Individuals & Exchange Insurers

Beginning January 1, 2014, the ACA regulation would have allowed insurance companies to charge smokers up to 50% higher premiums. A delay has been set in place at least for the next year, applicable ONLY to individual health insurance applications and applications submitted through the health insurance exchanges. At this time, there is no impact on group insurance or wellness regulations.