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Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has expressed its support for U.S. lawmakers’ inclusion of language in the budget agreement that eliminates the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) mandatory auto-enrollment provision.
The provision would have required employers with more than 200 full-time employees -- a group including many food retailers -- to automatically enroll new full-timers in the employer's health insurance plans and continue the enrollment of current employees.
"It is nonsensical to automatically enroll an associate in a health care plan that they did not choose," noted Jennifer Hatcher, SVP of government and public affairs for Arlington, Va.-based FMI. "Furthermore, eliminating mandatory auto-enrollment saves money, reduces paperwork and helps our associates by ensuring they are not paying for redundant coverage that they do not need."
Hatcher went on to thank Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) "for striking this burden from the ACA and for managing the issue in a bipartisan fashion."
The trade organization has been working with Congress and the Obama Administration to provide flexibility within several employer coverage requirements of the ACA so as to preserve the viability of employer-sponsored coverage for variable-hour workers. According to FMI, doing away with mandatory auto-enrollment doesn't limit workers' access to or eligibility for health care coverage; rather it removes the possibility of unwanted dual enrollments, and unnecessary dual premiums paid by both employees and employers.
FMI takes part in the executive committee of the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care (E-FLEX), a coalition of trade associations and businesses in the retail, supermarket, temporary-staffing, restaurant, hospitality, construction and other service-related industries, in addition to employer-sponsored health plans covering millions of Americans.