Capitol Hill Update

SHRM Member Testifies on Capitol Hill on Challenges Employers Face in Implementing the ACA

Apr 20, 2015
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On Tuesday, April 14, SHRM member Sally Roberts, MBA, SHRM-SCP, testified on behalf of SHRM before the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on challenges employers and HR professionals are facing in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Roberts is director of human resources at Morris Communications Company LLC, a private, family-owned company headquartered in Augusta, Ga., and she has been a SHRM member since 1997. Roberts currently serves as state director of the Georgia SHRM State Council and is a member of the SHRM Advocacy Team (A-Team).

At the hearing titled “Five Years of Broken Promises: How the President's Health Care Law Is Affecting America's Workplaces,” Roberts (pictured at right with Representatives Rick Allen of Georgia and Joe Wilson of South Carolina) testified from a large-employer perspective about the challenges her company and HR professionals are encountering while implementing the ACA and the strategies that have been instituted to contain increasing health care costs. Specifically, her testimony highlighted SHRM’s health care policy priorities on the following issues:

  • Excise tax: According to SHRM research data, 33 percent of organizations, including Roberts’ company, are anticipating an excise tax on high-cost benefits that takes effect in 2018. As a result, employers are taking action, including changing coverage plans, to avoid the tax. SHRM supports H.R. 879, Ax the Tax on Middle Class Americans' Health Plans Act, which would repeal the 40 percent excise tax on high-value employer-sponsored health care benefits.
  • Wellness programs: Due to increasing costs, employers are implementing incentive-based wellness programs as part of their health care cost-containment strategy. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has challenged employer-provided wellness programs. SHRM supports H.R. 1189, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act.
  • Definition of full-time employee: SHRM supports efforts (H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act) to ensure that the definition of a full-time employee within ACA is consistent with the 40-hour workweek baseline set by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Currently, the ACA defines a full-time employee as one working 30 hours a week. As a result, some employers have eliminated health care coverage for part-time employees who work less than 30 hours a week, leaving these workers without employer-provided coverage. Other employers have reduced the work hours of part-time employees.

For additional information regarding the hearing and to access a link to Ms. Roberts' full testimony, please visit the subcommittee’s website HERE. To learn more about SHRM’s public-policy priorities for 2015, visit HERE.

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