News Room

FMI Statement Regarding Recently Released “Look Back” and “Safe Harbor” Guidance on Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

September 5, 2012
ARLINGTON, VA – September 5, 2012 – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) issued the following statement by Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Jennifer Hatcher on important employer guidance released last week by the Administration under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The White House and Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services offered guidance to employers on how to determine which of their employees are considered full-time and eligible for employer-sponsored health coverage, as mandated by ACA.  
 
Hatcher stated, “FMI, representing the nation’s food retailers, appreciates the Administration’s allowance for maximum flexibility for employers to ‘look back’ up to one-year to account for seasonality and fluctuating work schedules when determining coverage eligibility, as well as providing a safe-harbor for employers who can demonstrate that coverage does not exceed 9.5 percent of an employee’s wages.  
 
“While food retailers’ compliance costs associated with ACA’s employer mandates will still be very significant, Notice 2012-58 and Notice 2012-59 are positive steps for food retailers within the scope of health coverage law. Still, with ACA’s employer mandates effective in less than 18 months and many other aspects to employer-sponsored coverage yet to be released, FMI members need a transition period without being subject to penalty in order to evaluate all of ACA’s coverage rules in their entirety and to properly adjust plan designs to comply with the law’s regulations. We will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to address food retailers’ concerns with implementation of the ACA’s employer coverage mandates. We also remain concerned that ACA’s defining full-time employees as those averaging 30-hours per week could have far-reaching consequences to how food retailers manage their workforce and employee benefits well beyond health care, and we wish to work with Congress to address this issue.”
 
Background:

  • Notice 2012-58: Safe harbor methods that employers may use in determining which employees are considered as full-time and therefore required to be offered employer-sponsored health insurance.  
  • Notice 2012-59: Guidance on the application of the ACA’s 90-Day Wait Period Limitation for providing health coverage benefits

Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores. For more information, visit www.fmi.org and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit www.fmifoundation.org

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