As Congress continues to battle over reforms to the Affordable Care Act, our President and CEO Dawn Sweeney urged U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price to use all “available regulatory flexibility and support legislative efforts” within HHS authority to provide relief to the individual and small group health insurance markets.
As a follow up to the March 29 meeting with Sec. Price, Sweeney illustrated areas where improvements to existing regulations within HHS authority could provide such relief.
For restaurants, the ACA’s employer mandate has:
- Resulted in a restructuring of the full-time workforce.
- Reduced the availability of a flexible work schedule for restaurant employees.
- Added hundreds of administrative hours to manage and track health insurance benefits without any clear benefit to the employees for whom the benefit was intended.
The letter Sweeney sent to HHS outlines three specific areas where improvements could be made:
- Empower patients and reduce regulatory burden. We are encouraging the adoption of an electronic process that allows for error correction and creates a streamlined standardized process for appealing erroneous tax credits, easing the data collection burden and protects employee’s private information.
- Increase the number of younger and healthier consumers eligible to purchase plans. Using available regulatory flexibility in the marketplace would allow employees to qualify for more affordable coverage options and could increase the potential for additional earnings regardless of their need for health insurance.
- Enhance affordability of coverage for small businesses. Compliance issues that restructure employee hours and the complicated ACA reporting structures have increased the cost of employer-provided health insurance without adding value to the benefits or growing the business. Addressing these issues would help lower administrative costs and expand access so more employers could offer health insurance to more employees.
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