July 4, 2013

Health act delay a relief to Maine industries

Until the 2015 start of the 'employer mandate,' Maine workers can buy insurance through health exchanges.

By J. Craig Anderson canderson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Joe Lawlor jlawlor@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

In this May 2013 file photo, construction work on the new Marriott hotel on Commercial Street in Portland. The Obama administration's decision to delay a health-insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act will have the greatest impact on Maine construction and tourism-related businesses, because they are least likely to meet the requirement.

John Ewing / Staff Photographer

A worker who buys insurance on an exchange may have to sign a declaration stating that his or her employer is not offering benefits or that the benefits are too expensive, Stein said.

While some workers might lie on their applications or erroneously declare that they can't get affordable insurance from their employers, that would last for only a year, until employers begin reporting that information to the federal government in 2015, Stein said.

"All they're going to be getting away with is buying health insurance," he said. "There might be people slipping through, but it's not like they're going to be getting a new car for free."

It's hard to tell whether the delay will affect the number of people signing up for the exchanges, said Kevin Lewis, executive director of Maine Community Health Options, one of two groups that plan to offer plans on Maine's health care exchange.

But Lewis said he suspects it won't make much difference because most people who will sign up likely won't be working for large employers.

"The (health care exchange) marketplace is designed mostly for individuals or small groups," Lewis said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

canderson@pressherald.com

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

Joe Lawlor can be contacted at 791-6376 or at:

jlawlor@pressherald.com 

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