What’s Happening in our World of Insurance This Week

Our very own President of Insurance Specialties, David M. Block and Vice President, Andrea M. Block have headed to Washington, DC for the annual National Association of Health Underwriter’s (NAHU) Capitol Conference.  As Federal Law and Legislation Chair of both the Western North Carolina and North Carolina State Chapter, David and other Board Members will be lobbying NC Congressman Mark Meadows and Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr for changes to the Affordable Care Act for what David says, “would make an immediate impact on large employer groups.”

Here is what David had to say in his recent Letter to the Editor piece for The Citizen-Times, Asheville:

Let’s Get the Count Right – Full-Time means Forty Hours

Relief Needed for Employers in their efforts to comply with the Affordable Care Act

Many of you know I am a licensed insurance agent … I make no bones about my chosen profession and take pride in providing protection to individuals, businesses, and families.  I belong to several industry associations that serve the needs of agents and help keep us updated on pending legislation and its ramifications.

As a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters, representing over 100,000 employee benefit and individual health insurance professions, I am writing to address one easily fixed aspect of the Affordable Care Act — knowing who is actually eligible for employer sponsored health insurance.

The law requires employers with fifty or more “full-time equivalents” to allow their “full-time” employees (those working 30 or more hours per week on average) to enroll in the company’s health insurance plan.  The issue is, many business owners are finding it nearly impossible to know who those people are because they don’t have the time to figure that out, or money to buy software or services that would identify those folks.

 The fact is, that every other set of federal laws considers Full-Time to mean 40 hours per week.

Thus, they are left frustrated and confused by the process and the requirements of documenting why an employee was included or excluded from coverage.  In addition, by having this lower number of hours equal full-time, many employees (who already consider themselves part-time) cannot obtain subsidized coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The United States House of Representatives has already passed a bill (HR 30 – Save American Workers Act of 2015) and similar bipartisan legislation is being considered in the Senate (S. 30).  As someone who works with employers of all sizes, I know that if this legislation is passed and signed by the President, it will make the burdens of implementing the Affordable Care Act a little more bearable.

 Please encourage Senators Burr and Tillis to pass this legislation.  In addition, do not forget to write or call the President to ask for his help getting this law passed!

Best of luck to the all of the NAHU representatives from around the country in making an impact; as their motto says, “stand up and be heard.”