More Reading of the Health Care

Previously, I thought I was on the hook to pay 8% of wages only if I did not offer a health care option.  But it turns out that even if our company offers a health care option, we STILL owe the 8% if the employee chooses not to avail him or herself of the company plan.  From the legislation, page 145:

Beginning with Y2, if an employee declines such  offer but otherwise obtains coverage in an Exchange participating health benefits plan (other than by reason of being covered by family coverage as a spouse or dependent of the primary insured), the employer shall make a timely contribution to the Health Insurance Exchange with respect to each such employee in accordance with section 313.

Beyond the costs, the record-keeping requirements are staggering.  I have to keep track of how every employee chooses to get their health care, and have to pay different private and public agencies based on these individual decisions.  Beyond this, for my part time employees (which is everyone), the maximum amount I have to pay varies by the hours worked, meaning the legal requirement for employer health care contribution will vary from employee to employee, and may be different, and change year to year, for all 500 of my employees.

Most of my employees are either on Medicare (which presumably has been paid for with their lifetime Medicare taxes) or on a private retirement health plan.  I have been reading the plan for hours and have not figured out if I will owe money for employees on either of these programs.  Anyone with an insight into this is welcome to email me.


  1. Don Lloyd:


    It should be clear, at least in retrospect, that you are not going to be allowed to escape by offering a plan that a given employee finds inadequate or otherwise unacceptable. It would seem illogical, even using government logic, that you would have to pay the 8% penalty for any employee who is covered by either Medicare or a private plan. However, the private plan will have to satisfy stringent qualifications, and may not even survive 'Reform'.

    "...Medicare (which presumably has been paid for with their lifetime Medicare taxes)..."

    I would have assumed that current Medicare is funded by its portion of current payroll taxes paid by all workers, just like Social Security, and that its Trust Fund, if any, is no more real than the ss TF.

    Regards, Don

  2. Scott:

    Medicare & SS haven't been funded by anything but debt since Congress realized they could use those funds for whatever they want and just issue an IOU to those accounts.

    Their actions in this regard are truly criminal.

  3. shenanigans:

    Hm. So, here's a thought experiment. If you hired a group of lawyers to draft for you personally national health care legislation that'd make sense (maybe because you're able to afford on and you care sufficiently), and they came up with the current bill... what would you do?

    Now, clearly you can't just fire your congressmen, partly because you have marginal control over a few of them. However, where I come from these exact sort of shenanigans quickly created two splinter-parties full of the many people in all walks of life discontented with the politics of the day. And while those splinter parties were exceedingly small, they ended up exercising a whole lot of control over the political process because they could sway marginal votes and thus got their agenda in. Additionally, legislation thereafter started to make more sense because the powers that be had become aware of the risk of treating their constituents like ignorant children. (All is far from well, but at least there was some correction)

    I am fascinated to see how US citizens argue against unreasonable and harmful laws only in small groups, generally without taking action. Even obvious violations of constitutional law seem to be treated with a sort of "aw-shucks, but it's our guys" mentality by the majority.

    I'd be the first one to admit that I am taking a very convenient backseat view here (can't vote, so while I am morally enraged I chose to do nothing at all while focusing on making a living), but I'd be interested in the personal reasons for not doing anything either you guys have - is it a lack of ideas of what to do personally, a lack of easy-to-access organization, an overwhelming awareness of how powerless you are individually or a belief that the silent majority could never be convinced to do the right thing?

  4. ElamBend:

    Am I guessing correctly that you come from a place with a parliamentary system, or at least proportional representation?

  5. Methinks:

    Be careful saying anything negative about health care. Comrade Obama is telling citizens to monitor you and turn you in to the White House police (which don't exist, of course. yeah).

    From the White House site:

    There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to

    I feel like I re-immigrated to the USSR. Stalin's USSR.

  6. Rick:

    It's not getting any better here in Oregon. The Governor is about to sign into law a state public health plan that "covers all kids" and will eventually cover all kids of parents 200% of the Federal poverty level. The state will tax all private health insurance premiums 1% to pay for this.

    In the Portland area newspaper, "The Oregonian", the propaganda announcing this law used a "stay-at-home single mom" and her daughter as an example of someone who would benefit. No report on where the father was or if he should be more responsible, or how she gets her money now, or whether or not her new fiance would help shoulder the load. No word on whether this was fair to single mom's or dad's who do work... or if fair to parents who work to pay for their kids insurance, and now will be forced to pay for the "single stay-at-home mom" too. Talk about no incentive to work or manage money wisely... and a de-incentive to be a good dad.

    I have nothing against kids getting good medical care, but this isn't the way to do it. It's just going to make another generation dependent on government while their man/woman-child parents spend the "saved money" on beer and pot.

  7. Bob Smith:

    I note the act has a mandatory "audit" requirement for self-insured employers. No doubt the hassle of the audits will pressure employers into accepting the public system, as I'm sure is intended.

    Is there a threshold number of employees under which the employer will not be subject to these rules?

  8. Bob Smith:

    No report on where the father was or if he should be more responsible, or how she gets her money now

    It's especially unfair to make fathers pay this. Since the children are not legally his dependents, he cannot enroll them as his children under whatever insurance he already has. Besides, shouldn't this be the custodial parent's job? You wanted the kids, now pay for it. Maybe mothers wouldn't be so aggressive in demanding custody if they couldn't force somebody else to pay for it.

  9. Dr. T:

    The most annoying aspect of our health care financing discussions is the equating of health care insurance and medical care. This allows political spin meisters to claim that the umpteen million persons without health care insurance aren't getting medical care, but ObamaCare will fix that.

    My family is among the health care uninsured, but we're not deprived of medical care. We simply pay for care out-of-pocket. We will not participate in ObamaCare, and if the feds try to penalize us for that I'll fight them all the way to prison.

    I wouldn't waste time reading the draft of the ObamaCare bill. It has a stack of amendments so big that the bill could get five times as long.

    We need two new constitutional amendments: a balanced (with no accounting gimmicks) federal budget and a requirement that all Congressional bills be less than 50 pages (including amendments and riders).

  10. ilovebenefits:

    The health care bill will be decided by how the electorate reacts over the next 4-5 weeks during the congressional recess. Follow the debate and other critical health care items at

  11. shenanigans:

    Correct, Elam. I might not be getting the republic, but I am irritated to see the same attitudes I got in the southern american banana republics 'ah, yes, they are criminals messing with our country, but what can you do, that's politics' ;)

  12. Methinks:

    Dr. T,

    We're starting a new blog expressly to explain what exactly the legislation and Obama's proposals will mean for doctors and patients. The post contributors are mostly doctors. We're hoping that once doctors and patients realize how negatively this thing will impact them, they will make their wishes known to their representatives. If you would like it emailed to you or if you would like to write a post or a comment, please email me at Anyone else interested, please email me. We don't intend for the blog to be permanent - it'll either become irrelevant because they pass ObamaCare or because they don't.

    It should be ups and running within the next 24 hours.