“For a lot of young workers like those in retail, where they might be working part-time … many of them are already not getting great coverage,” said Sabrina Corlette, project director at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. “Frankly, for a lot of them, the deal (they will get) in an exchange is better than what they would get from their employer.”
As far as how the delay might affect the rest of the ACA, only time will tell; the administration is slated to release guidance this week. But experts interviewed by Modern Healthcare agree that the individual mandate is unlikely to be delayed because it's so critical to the law's success.
“One has to hope, however, that the administration has thought through the ramifications of this delay for the other provisions of the ACA,” Tim Jost, a professor at Washington & Lee University School of Law and a nationally recognized authority on the health reform law, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “The statements say that implementation of the rest of the ACA, including the availability of premium tax credits, is going forward on schedule. From all appearances this is true. But tax credits are only available to employed individuals who are either not offered health coverage by their employers or are only offered employer coverage that costs more than 9.5% of household income or that fails to offer 'minimum value'—covering 60% of healthcare costs. Also, taxpayers are subject to the individual mandate penalty if they fail to accept coverage from their employer that meets the minimum value requirement and costs 8% or less of household income.”
But the damage to the ACA and the president may have already been done. President Barack Obama was facing an uphill battle getting exchanges ready by the Oct. 1 enrollment deadline and states were struggling to get consumer outreach programs ready. Even though the mandate delay only involves employers, many Americans may interpret it as a problem with the overall law.