The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 4, 2013

What now? Latest snag in health care law draws questions

(Continued)

—Some job hunters. Once the mandate kicks in, job-seekers may find fewer openings for unskilled workers. That's because some restaurants and other small companies say the mandate will force them to cut back on staff or freeze hiring. The economy is likely to continue improving, which will help offset the impact by increasing demand for workers.

Who loses?

—Uninsured people who already are confused about the law. The law doesn't change the January 2014 deadline for individuals to get insurance or the tax credits in the law to help them pay for it. But many people don't understand how the law works or when it takes effect, and the delay for the employer mandate may further muddle the issue for many.

—Some workers. Those whose employers might add insurance coverage to avoid the law's penalties will have to wait a year. But this group is expected to be small. The penalties are designed more to discourage businesses from dropping their existing health plans than to encourage them to start new ones. And these employees can buy their own insurance through the new health care exchanges being set up under the law.

What about me?

Most people won't be affected.

The vast majority of Americans already have insurance — even those working at companies that hover around the 50-employee level.

A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that 87 percent of companies that employed from 25 to 49 workers last year offered health coverage, and the percentage goes up for bigger businesses.

You should NOT be affected by the delay if you already are insured through:

—A job at a large company that already offers insurance.

—A job at a small company employing fewer than 50 workers, because such companies are exempt from the rules.

—Medicaid or Medicare, not affected by the delay.

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