January 15, 2015 Legislation




Obamacare has some laws that activated on 1/1/15.  The first is the employer mandate.  Large companies with over 100 full time employees must provide "affordable health insurance" to at least 70% of their full time workforce or face a fine.  Those businesses with between 50 and 100 full time workers have another year.  This is also the first year for those individuals without health insurance to get it or pay the huge fine of at least $95 or 1% of the person's income whichever is higher.  The IRS has it's usual way of checking using audits.

To all those with Obamacare a new IRS form 1095-A has been mailed.  Those who claim they are exempt or those with subsidies will have more stuff to fill out.  There will be a check box for the person who pays retail.

As I reported last time the Obama administration has put the kibosh on non profit hospitals charging uninsured more than Medicare rates for their care.  The new rules state that the uninsured eligible for financial assistance can not be charged more than the amounts generally billed to people who have insurance via a government or private insurance.  There are now multiple other prohibitions on when they can put liens or turn the people over to collection agencies.  It is about time.

The House unanimously passed a bill that would exempt vets who get services from the VA from the 50 full time person count needed for Obamacare insurance.  The White House backs the common sense measure.  The same bill passed last year but died with the Reid in control of the Senate.  The House also passed a bill to exempt volunteer firefighters from Obamacare.  This passed unanimously.   

The House is taking on Obama.  They passed a bill and sent to a waiting Senate increasing from 30 hours to 40 hours the definition of full time work.  They hope that with this change more people will work longer hours and get more money.  Sixteen House Democrats voted for the bill.  The Senate Dems can block the bill.

The House passed a veteran suicide bill for the second time and again sent it to the Senate now that Coburn is no longer there.  This should easily pass the Senate.

The California Department of Insurance has set out emergency measures to thwart the insurers from using less than adequate networks of providers.  The rules which will go into effect soon are that they must adhere to the standards for appointment wait times, they must offer an adequate number of physicians and clinics and hospitals to patients who live in certain areas, they must provide an accurate list of in-network providers, the must provide out- of- network care options for the same price as in-network care when the number of in-network providers is sufficient and they must report to the DOI information about their networks and any changes.  If they do not comply, they may be barred from selling insurance in the state next year.

Jones has also urged California Care not to cancel the private insurance of thousands of Californians who are also eligible for Medicaid. He says that the private insurance may only be cancelled for failure to pay premiums or relocation.           Top


California AG Harris is attempting to pass the buck.  She has called for a series of public hearings on the proposed purchase of the six Daughters of Charity California hospitals prior to making her ruling as to whether or not to approve the sale.  The only ones against the sale is the SEIU.  The California Nurses Association is for the sale.  The union has its usual Democratic water carriers who wrote Harris to oppose the sale.  If the sale is not given approval bankruptcy and or closure will occur.  This become even more interesting since she has decided to run for US Senator in Boxer's place.

Providence Health Care In Washington was fined $164,000 for failure to rapidly notifying its Medicare Advantage patients of changes in services and prescription drugs covered.

Yorkville Endoscopy, where Joan Rivers had her problem, has lost their fed med accreditation.          Top


DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.