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National Restaurant Association - Federal agencies issue more guidance on health care law

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Federal agencies issue more guidance on health care law

The federal government recently released new guidance on the implementation of the health care law -- the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) -- that sheds a little more light for business owners on how to comply with the law. 

The latest guidance, issued Aug. 30, focus on two critical pieces of the law. The first explains how to calculate whether new or existing employees are considered "full time" under PPACA and, thus, eligible for the health care coverage that many employers will be required to offer their full-time employees. The second addresses how to determine when the clock starts running on the 90-day waiting period before new, full-time employees must be offered health-care coverage under PPACA. The law's employer mandate takes effect starting in 2014.

The guidance on full-time employees can be found here and on the 90-day waiting period here. The guidance will be officially published in the Oct. 9 Federal Register.

The National Restaurant Association, with the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care Coalition, has held numerous meetings with federal regulators on both issues, and filed several formal comments over the last two years on these issues. Based on the NRA's initial review of the guidance released last week, it appears that regulators heard and understood much of the industry's input -- especially in regulators' decision to allow employers to use up to a 12-month look-back period to determine whether an existing employee and new hires had average full-time hours over that time.

The guidance is effective through the end of 2014, and could be supplemented with additional guidance, regulators said. The NRA is working to analyze last week's guidance and will submit further feedback on its own and through the EFHC Coalition. Comments are due Sept. 30.

Visit the NRA's Health Care Knowledge Center for more details on the health care law.


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