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Businesses Urge Change to ACA's Insurance Mandate

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Beginning in 2015, U.S. businesses with 50 or more workers must provide health insurance to "full-time" employees, meaning workers who log at least 30 hours a week, on average.

On Tuesday, retail, franchise and community college representatives urged Congress to replace the so-called "30-hour rule" because of the expense and difficulty implementing the requirement. Their testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee came just hours before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in which he called on Congress to restore unemployment insurance for 1.6 million Americans whose benefits have expired and to raise the federal minimum wage.

The employer responsibility provision, also known as the employer mandate, was scheduled to take effect this year, but last July the Obama administration postponed enforcement of the requirement until 2015. The 30-hour rule was meant to close the insurance gap for people who don't already qualify for job-based health insurance.

Some companies are cutting workers to 29 or fewer hours ahead of the mandate. Nearly one-third of franchises and 12 percent of non-franchise businesses have already reduced worker hours, according to an International Franchise Association/U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey.

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