August 12, 2011
For additional information:
Jason Hammersla

Council commends new PPACA guidance on state exchanges, premium subsidies

WASHINGTON, DC — "The proposed regulations addressing health insurance coverage subsidies and state exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provide importance guidance for employers working to comply with the health care law," Council President James A. Klein said today.

"We appreciate the Obama Administration's efforts to provide stability and certainty regarding employer-sponsored coverage. The safe harbors provided in today's regulations will reduce volatility for workers moving between different sources of health coverage," Klein said.

"Most importantly, the federal rules regarding premium subsidy eligibility recognize the importance of determining "affordability" based strictly on an employee's wages and the cost of individual — not family — coverage. "By simplifying the affordability test, the IRS has spared employers the dual burden of determining nebulous 'household income' and performing affordability tests on different premium structures," Klein said.

"Basing affordability on employee-only coverage, rather than family coverage, is the correct interpretation of the law and the only logical one. It makes no sense to suggest that workers should be provided family coverage at the same employee cost as individual coverage. The American Benefits Council continues to advocate for workable rules to implement the new health law; and we commend the Obama Administration for being responsive to concerns expressed by employers, who are the source of health coverage for the majority of Americans," Klein concluded.

To arrange an interview with Council staff on health care reform issues, please contact Jason Hammersla, Council director, communications, at 202-289-6700.

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The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Council's members represent the entire spectrum of the private employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.