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As part of the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care (EFHC) coalition, ABC Sept. 27 submitted comments regarding implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – specifically, on determining full-time employee status and the application of the 90-day waiting period limitation. The comment letter was submitted in response to notices issued by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

Over the last several months, EFHC has participated in numerous meetings with the Obama administration about the implementation of PPACA and has consistently advocated for the development of workable regulations that maintain employer-sponsored coverage as a competitive option for all employees, whether full-time, part-time, temporary or seasonal workers.  

In the Sept. 27 letter, EFHC wrote, “We appreciate that employers can rely on the Administration’s current guidance through the end of 2014 with respect to the determination of full-time status, the 90-day limitation on waiting periods, and the affordability safe harbor.” 

EFHC also stated that in the absence of formal, comprehensive and final regulations on all issues under PPACA’s employer responsibility provisions, employers are not able to fully prepare to implement the employer requirements under the law.  

“Once comprehensive regulations are issued that employers can rely on for planning and budgeting purposes, employers will need at least 18 months to make the changes needed to fully comply with PPACA’s employer requirements,” the letter stated. In addition, EFHC argued that a grace period may be necessary during this time.   

The coalition also urged the administration to issue additional guidance as soon as possible on the coverage and reporting requirements under PPACA, including the proposed affordability safe harbor based on current wages and further clarification on the methodologies for calculating the minimum value standard.  

EFHC pointed out that a critical aspect to the implementation of the law for employers and employees will be the accurate determination of individual eligibility for premium assistance tax credits and assessment of employer tax penalties. 

“We hope to work with you further to develop rules for Exchange determinations of individual eligibility for tax credits, employer reporting requirements, and the verification process by the Internal Revenue Service,” EFHC told the agencies in the letter.   

EFHC is a group of leading trade associations and businesses in the retail, restaurant, hospitality, construction, temporary staffing and other service-related industries, as well as employer-sponsored plans insuring millions of American workers.    

Further information and examples about the safe harbor method for ongoing employees; the rule for new employees reasonably expected to work full-time; the safe harbor method for new variable-hour and seasonal employees; and the safe harbor based on Form W-2 wages, can be found in IRS Notice 2012-58. Guidance and examples regarding the 90-day waiting period can be found in IRS Notice 2012-59.   

Previous IRS notices and guidance on the employer responsibility provision may be found here:    

For more information on the coalition’s previous comments, visit these previous articles:

ABC Comments on Employer FAQs Regarding Health Care Law 

FAQs About Certain Provisions in PPACA Now Available

ABC Joins Coalition in Offering Feedback on Health Care Regulations 

June 2012 EFHC letter