As a nation, we've come to terms with the idea that the ACA is ideal in theory only. The average American doesn't always qualify, nor do they have many alternative options as consumers. Some of them even don’t know about other financial options. If you are one of them, read more here. Consequently, an increasing number of citizens resort to the payday loan industry, banks, and credit unions to cover unexpected medical costs. Borrowers take cash advances from direct payday lenders. It takes a few minutes to access quick cash and up to a month to repay the debt. With fees ranging from $10 to $30 for every $100 borrowed, payday loan stores and online-operated businesses help millions of Americans pay for their medical bills. Bank regulations, more strict in terms of requirements, offer the chance to access larger amounts of money and use collateral. And the last resort for the citizens in need of a medical loan is credit unions. The institutions provide low-interest loans and payday loan alternatives that come in handy in times of distress. While we should all be grateful for having access to various medical loans, the trust in the ACA decreases.
In our age and time, taking a loan is a reasonable way to reach your goals with a lender's help. If your steady income is enough to qualify for a loan, getting the money you need at once makes sense. For instance, if you commute to work, resorting to lenders to buy a car, then repay the debt in monthly payments is a smart choice. Chances are you already pay almost as much as a personal loan plus interest would cost you on the vehicle. With a decent credit score and a reliable job, what could go wrong? Nobody is fully protected against unemployment. What do you do if you lose your job one day, running out of cash, and are stuck with some personal loans? And more importantly, how realistic is it to apply for one more loan?
Unemployment hit the global job market hard. For some workers, though, the unemployment benefits proved to be a rather convenient alternative. Unemployment insurance benefits kicked in for the unemployed that had secured an insurance plan before the pandemic outburst. Those who didn't have a strategy could qualify as eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
The federal government was fast to support insurance companies as more people continued to lose their jobs. To receive assistance, workers needed to file a claim at one of the unemployment offices and benefit from up to 79 weeks of unemployment benefits in case of approval. The payments guaranteed by law were minimal for the first week and typically increased after the applicants' wages were verified.
Every government defines its rules and priorities based on its values. New regulations are spreading nation-wide to bring positive change in the employment sector potentially. Under the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the updates will affect overtime pay, minimum wage, and equal employment. Although the updates follow common guidelines, they differ from state to state.
Under federal law, the Act Protecting the Right to Organize will reinforce fair work practices. It will be easier for employees to defend their rights in a court of law. The same Act will protect employees against unfair labor practices and grant them more rights through employee unions. The bill was voted in 2020, and its updated regulations are centered around common workplace practices that limit the employees’ freedom of speech and labor rights.
When Laborers’ International Union President Terry O’Sullivan took the AFL-CIO convention podium in September, he voiced a majority view that, "If the Affordable Care Act is not fixed, and it destroys the health and welfare funds that we have all fought for and stand for, then I believe it needs to be repealed." White House meetings on the subject had not paid off, it seemed. According to Forbes magazine, the President had to intervene to forestall, barely, a convention resolution to repeal the ACA.
Generous, employer-paid health care coverage has been a chief attractant for low wage, non-union workers. Especially in the construction and transportation industries, much of that coverage has been provided through labor-management health and welfare trust funds, many of which are similar to self-insured, employer group health plans. Those funds are threatened by three ACA features: (1) beneficiary ineligibility for subsidies that would accompany their purchase of plans through the ACA Marketplace; (2) the coming “Cadillac plan” tax; and (3) other fees and taxes already imposed on insurance issuers and plan sponsors, most especially the annual reinsurance fee of $5.25 per month per covered life. So far, the Administration has not formally promised union funds any associated relief, despite heavy lobbying.
We have been warning that employers will need months of advance planning and an automated process to use the ACA’s “look-back measurement method” to identify the full-time employees who will be entitled to an offer of coverage. In a future article, we’ll report our impressions of several software options. Here, we’ll make it as simple as we can and yet you’ll be dizzy before we’re done. All references are to the IRS Employer Shared Responsibility Cost Final Rules, 26 CFR 54.4980H-3(d) (79 Federal Register pp. 8586 – 8594, Feb. 12, 2014). Among other short-cuts, we’ll ignore special rules that apply only to school employees; we’ll ignore the option to insert an “administrative period” between a measurement period and its associated stability period; and, we’ll discuss another day how to determine whether a returning employee is a “new hire,” and how to count hours of “special unpaid leave” if she is not.
ACA § 1557(a) (42 U.S.C. § 18116(a)) says:
Except as otherwise provided for in this title (or an amendment made by this title), an individual shall not, on the ground prohibited under title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.), or section 794 of title 29, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any health program or activity, any part of which is receiving Federal financial assistance, including credits, subsidies, or contracts of insurance, or under any program or activity that is administered by an Executive Agency or any entity established under this title (or amendments). The enforcement mechanisms provided for and available under such title VI, title IX, section 794, or such Age Discrimination Act shall apply for purposes of violations of this subsection.
Sub-section (b) emphasizes that subsection (a) does not limit the previous application of the statutes referenced in subsection (a). Subsection (c) authorizes the HHS Secretary to “promulgate regulations to implement this section.” All of this has been in effect since March 2010. So, why did HHS need over five years to propose the set of rules published September 8? Here are a few highlights. For brevity’s sake, we omit foreign language service requirements, disability accommodation, compliance certification, grievance procedure and notice posting rules, among others.