Treatment of Construction Industry by Health Care Reform BillApril 2010 – Newsletters In The Zone
On March 23, President Obama signed into law the Health Care Reform Bill extending health insurance coverage to nearly 95 percent of all Americans. In part, the new law requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer health insurance.
Special provisions were added for the construction industry. In December 2009, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) successfully added an amendment to the original bill that requires construction companies with five or more employees and at least $250,000 in annual payroll expenses to provide health benefits to their workers or else pay a penalty of $750 per employee. Currently, this provision is now law and is slated to take effect on January 1, 2014.
However, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are currently debating an additional piece of legislation designed to "fix" certain aspects of the freshly enacted law. These changes will likely be passed in the Senate via the often talked about "reconciliation process."
The good news is that this new bill seeks to strip out the harsher treatment of the construction industry and put home builders and remodelers on par with other small businesses. However, the "reconciliation" bill also seeks to increase the fine from $750 per employee to $2,000 per employee.