Impact of Individual Mandate on Employer Plans

Employers saw little, if any, growth in health plan enrollment in 2014 when the individual mandate went into effect. Our next question was whether we would see a surge in enrollment in 2015 when employers must expand eligibility to all employees working 30 or more hours per week. This article suggests a higher-than-expected number of Americans -- 23 million -- will be able to qualify for an exemption from the individual mandate. The increase is driven by a list from the govenment detailing 14 ways people can avoid the fine for not obtaining coverage, ranging from specific finanical hardship situations to a canceled insurance plan. The 2014 fine for not having insurance is $95 per adult or 1% of family income, whichever is greater, increasing to $695 per adult or 2.5% of family income in 2016. Between the new exemptions and the low level of the fine, employers opening their plans to more employees in 2015 may see fewer new enrollees than originally expected.

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Tracy Watts
by Tracy Watts

Senior Partner, National Leader for U.S. Health Policy

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