The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 5, 2013

Minn. companies applaud delay in health care rule

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Obama administration's decision to delay a health care obligation for employers until 2015 is a relief for some Minnesota companies that welcome the extra time to understand the new law and its options.

The delayed provision would penalize employers with at least 50 full-time workers if they don't offer their employees insurance coverage. Now they'll have an extra year to decide whether to offer coverage or pay thousands of dollars in penalties, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported (http://bit.ly/19XnM3O ).

In Minnesota, business leaders cheered the delay even as policy experts downplayed its impact on the state's health insurance market.

"Obviously, there's relief because this was not a realistic goal," said Kate Johansen, director for health policy at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. "That said, it still remains a problem because it's slated to go into effect a year later."

The postponement won't affect a huge number of companies. The Kaiser Family Foundation says 98 percent of U.S. companies with more than 200 employees already provide health insurance, as do 94 percent of those that have 50 to 199 employees.

"Employers try to offer these benefits to stay competitive in the workforce market, and, secondly, they do it to satisfy a social contract that they have with those employees," said Stefan Gildemeister, a state health economist at the Minnesota Department of Health. "Those two dynamics are probably not affected by this delay."

The new health law imposes penalties of $2,000 to $3,000 per full-time employee for companies that don't provide affordable coverage. The total penalty would depend on the number of full-time workers at the company.

By postponing implementation of that aspect of the law, does that mean employers will have an incentive not to offer health insurance for another year? Probably not, said April Todd-Malmlov, executive director of Minnesota's health insurance exchange.

"Employers offer coverage because they need to attract a good workforce, and that's not going to change going into the future," she said. "There could be a small impact but I really don't anticipate it will be anything substantial."

------

Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014