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William M. Mooney, Jr., President and CEO of the Westchester County Association, submitted the following op-ed to the Journal News. It was published on Sunday, May 7, 2017. Mooney is a former banker.
THE ACA REPEAL NEEDS A DOCTOR
Most people are surprised when we say “Be careful what you wish for” as it relates to the repeal of the ACA, also known as Obamacare. I would say Congress should not repeal it. Coming from a businessman, that may seem surprising. So why am I being so cautious? I’m thinking of Westchester.
“Elections have consequences,” said Ken Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association at the December 9th meeting of the WCA Healthcare Advisory Board. With the threat of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA aka “Obamacare”) without an immediate replacement plan, Raske and others in the healthcare industry are predicting dire consequences. “The level of uncertainty is the highest I’ve ever seen in my career. I am deeply, deeply troubled.”
Many Westchester businesses are focused on the upcoming healthcare employer mandate—that is, beginning next year, large employers must offer affordable health insurance to full-time employees and their dependents or be subject to penalties. (This applies to employers with 50 or more full-time employees and will be phased in over two years, depending on employer size). What employers also need to focus on—though it won’t take effect until 2018—is the excise tax, also known as the “Cadillac Tax.” The tax applies to what the government considers “high-cost” employer health-benefit plans — for most workers, more than $10,200 annually for individuals and $27,500 for families. Employers will have to pay 40 cents of tax for every dollar of health-care costs that exceed those amounts.
Only two health insurance carriers in Westchester have opted to participate in New York’s SHOP (Small Business Health Option Program) exchange, and you’ve probably only heard of one of them...
Westchester businesses have until next Tuesday to give their employees a heads-up on the new healthcare exchanges. Whether you offer healthcare plans or not, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to issue a Notice of Exchange and COBRA notice (where appropriate) to all employees by Oct. 1 and to every new employee hired after that date within 14 days of hire.