New IRS regulations going into effect this month make employer-reimbursement for health insurance premiums – traditionally 'a popular way for employers to help workers obtain health coverage' – excessively painful and increasingly rare, according to Diana Furchtgott-Roth in "The Internal Revenue Service Swoops in With a Money Grab."
Hey, employers, don't even think about reimbursing your workers' health-insurance premiums. Beginning this month, the IRS can levy fines amounting to $100 per worker per day or $36,500 per worker per year, with a maximum of $500,000 per firm.
The amount is over 12 times the statutory amount in the Affordable Care Act of $3,000 per worker per year … and 18 times the $2,000 penalty for not offering adequate health insurance. This $100 fine is applicable not only to large firms, but also those with fewer than 50 workers…
These rules appear designed to force American businesses and workers to conform to the Obamacare scheme, but there's bad news on that front too, as Investor's Business Daily editors explain in ObamaCare ‘Reform’: 34% Fewer Doctors, Double-Digit Premium Hikes:
Before ObamaCare, it would've been hard to find a health plan that combined a huge $6,000 deductible, few in-network doctors, and sky-high premiums. Today, thanks to ObamaCare, it's hard not to.
A new report from Avalere Health finds that enrollees in ObamaCare plans have access to 34% fewer providers than those who buy a commercial plan outside the exchange. On average, it found, ObamaCare enrollees had 32% fewer primary care doctors and 24% fewer hospitals from which to choose.
Worse, ObamaCare plans covered 42% fewer oncologists and cardiologists than non-ObamaCare plans.
What this means is that lots of patients will end up going out of network to get the care that they need, which means paying far more out-of-pocket costs.
Furchtgott-Roth points to legislation introduced in the House and Senate to offer relief to small businesses who are being treated unfairly and to allow them to "use pre-tax dollars to assist employees purchasing insurance in the individual market."
Yet it is a stop-gap measure at best. The only sure way to permanently reverse the unfairness and suffering brought about by the ACA law is to repeal it and start over. With the lessons learned from Obamacare, the result couldn't be any worse.