Obamacare rules on equal coverage delayed: NY Times

WASHINGTON Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:12pm EST

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is delaying enforcement of a provision of the new healthcare law that prohibits employers from providing better health benefits to top executives than to other employees, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Tax officials said they would not enforce the provision this year because they had yet to issue regulations for employers to follow, according to the Times.

Internal Revenue Service spokesman Bruce Friedland said employers would not have to comply until the agency issued regulations or other guidance, the newspaper reported.

The IRS was not immediately available to confirm the Times story.

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, has been marked by a number of delays in implementing certain parts of the law. In November, the administration announced a one-year delay in online insurance enrollment for small businesses.

Technical problems with the enrollment website plagued its launch on October 1, but they have largely been fixed and more than 2 million people have signed up for private insurance. The White House hopes to have 7 million people sign up by March 31, the deadline for coverage under Obamacare.

The law, adopted in 2010, says employer-sponsored health plans must not discriminate "in favor of highly compensated individuals" with respect to either eligibility or benefits.

IRS officials said they were wrestling with complicated questions like how to measure the value of employee health benefits, how to define "highly compensated" and what exactly constitutes discrimination, the Times reported.

The ban on discriminatory health benefits was to take effect in 2010. Administration officials said then that they needed more time to develop rules and that the rules would be issued well before this month, when other major provisions of the law took effect.

A similar ban on discrimination, adopted more than 30 years ago, already applies to employers that serve as their own insurers. The new law extends that policy to employers that buy insurance from commercial carriers.

(Writing by Eric Beech; editing by Gunna Dickson)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (10)
WhyMeLord wrote:
Let’s give those poor and selfless executives another year to hide their money someplace; has this administration gone completely mad?
Nothing, and I mean nothing is better if it’s put off until tomorrow.
Face the music now and get it over with, there’s another election coming up, and why give them more wiggle room and talking points?
The Democrats sure have the correct mascot for their pathetic mascot.

Jan 18, 2014 7:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Big2Tex wrote:
Executives do not hide their money…..they invest it or spend it. Executive and higher income folks are the greatest boon to he economy, more than government, more than stimulus, and certainly more than food stamps and unemployment. God Bless those who have earned their way to prosperity and foster growth in the economy. Why shouldn’t they get more benefits than the folks who earn less? Free markets scare anyone?

Jan 18, 2014 9:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Timbuk3 wrote:
Executives do not hide their money? Wow, then i guess you never learned about Swiss banks or the Cayman islands huh?

I can understand te complexities of this provision. It would be easy to say “everyone gets the same policies but sometimes corporate offices are in other states with different regs and provider networks so it’s probably not so simple. Kudos the administration to take it’s time to get this right and avoid avoidable lawsuits and uncertainty.

Jan 18, 2014 10:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.