U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that since nearly 13 times as many Tennesseans receive health insurance through their employers as purchase their own individual plans, new Obamacare mandates on businesses mean that now Tennesseans receiving health insurance through employers will have to worry about Obamacare cancellations bringing an "Unhappy New Year."
"During 2014, many of the burdensome Obamacare mandates on businesses that the Obama administration delayed will be in full force," Alexander said. "We've already seen how the president's broken promise that "If you like your health insurance, you can keep it' was an unwelcome Christmas present for 82,000 Tennesseans buying insurance on their own. Now, since nearly 13 times as many Tennesseans receive health insurance on the job, Obamacare threatens to bring an Unhappy New Year for tens of thousands more Tennesseans."
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are more than 246,000 Tennesseans on the individual insurance market, and Alexander said at least 82,000 Tennesseans are scheduled to begin losing their current insurance because their plans were "outlawed" under Obamacare. About 3,175,000 Tennesseans get their insurance through their employers, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or nearly 13 times as many as in the individual insurance market. Alexander said the "burdensome mandates on employers" could mean "tens of thousands more" Tennesseans will lose their current plans or see their costs increase, just as in the individual health insurance market.
In 2014, employers will begin to make employee insurance and work-hour changes to prepare for the employer mandate to be enforced by the Obama administration, which requires employers with 50 employees or more to provide health insurance or pay a penalty. Alexander said the employer mandate will limit the options employers have to provide affordable insurance for all employees -- leading to some existing plans no longer being legal, and insurance being more expensive, just as Americans saw in the individual health insurance market this year.
The senator also noted that many employers are already starting to reduce employee work hours and limit new hires and reconsider business expansions in order to lessen their burdens under Obamacare. The Obama administration in July of 2013 delayed enforcement until Jan. 1, 2015, instead of Jan. 1, 2014. Alexander continued, "Enforcement of burdensome mandates on businesses will mean fewer choices as health insurance plans offered by employers are outlawed under Obamacare, as well as higher costs for both Tennesseans and businesses that are trying to create jobs."
The Obama administration is expected to release rules related to the employer mandate soon. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be releasing its final rule on the employer mandate, and the Internal Revenue Service will begin to reveal how much paperwork and personal information it will require businesses and employees to provide.