About one-third of employers subject to major requirements of President Barack Obama's new healthcare law reportedly may face tax penalties because they offer health insurance that could be considered unaffordable to some employees.
The reason is a provision that says that if a company offers coverage but requires any full-time employees to pay premiums that amount to more than 9.5 percent of their household income, the coverage is deemed unaffordable under Obamacare, according to a new study conducted by employee-benefit consulting firm Mercer.
Mercer partner Tracy Watts says it would be difficult for employers to know in advance exactly how many workers might find their health plans unaffordable.
“Employers rarely have access to information on their employees’ household income,” which may include the earnings of a spouse or children, interest from savings accounts and dividend income from stocks and mutual funds, Watts told The New York Times.
To avoid the penalty, employers could increase their contributions to premiums, reduce the workers’ share of premiums, offer lower-cost health plans with less generous coverage or charge lower premiums to workers with lower wages.
According to surveys, no group of Americans is more skeptical of Obamacare than senior citizens.
Medicare Advantage plans, which currently attract almost one in four seniors, will see enrollment cut roughly in half over the next 10 years, making senior citizens more dependent on traditional Medicare than they are today and giving them fewer healthcare choices.
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