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Alliance welcomes delay in enforcement of ACA penalties; urges businesses to continue to prepare

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Moderator Sally Smith of Bowles Rice, from left, and panelists Renate Pore, West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare; Jeremiah Samples, WV Office of the Insurance Commissioner; Matt Coleman, CEO, Office & Commercial Cleaning; and Steve Dexter, CEO, Thomas Health Systems at the SUCCESStrategies ACA workshop on Tuesday

Businesses required to provide health insurance to employees starting in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have another year to prepare, the Obama administration announced last night. (See official announcement HERE)

Under the law, businesses with more than 50 full-time employees would face a $2,000 fine for each worker not covered under their company’s health insurance plan. That provision will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2015.

“This is a welcome development,” said Matthew Ballard, President/CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance.  “The ACA is one of the most complex and sweeping pieces of legislation ever enacted. Postponing the enforcement of tax penalties will give our members additional time to adjust their business strategies to comply with the law in a way that makes sense for them and their employees.”

Other provisions of the ACA will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

“It’s important that businesses proceed with a  sense of urgency to get educated about the law and consult with their health insurance providers, insurance agents, attorneys, accountants and other professionals to understand its impact,” said Ballard.

More than 70 area business people attended an Alliance SUCCESStrategies workshop on the ACA yesterday, Ballard noted. The Alliance plans ongoing workshops and other educational activities on health care reform in the months ahead.

“The extension of the tax penalty enforcement should not be an excuse to postpone preparation,” he said. “It’s here and it’s complicated.”

Other key parts of the ACA will become effective in 2014. These include establishment of health care insurance exchanges, expansion of Medicaid and new tax credits to help individuals whose employers do not provide health insurance obtain coverage.

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