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FMI Supports Guidance on Health Care Reform

ARLINGTON, Va. — Food Marketing Institute here said Wednesday that two new health care reform guidelines for employers are “positive steps” for food retailers.

The Internal Revenue Service’s Notice 2012-59, issued along with the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services, allows employers to “look back” at an employee’s schedule for a full year to determine if they are full time and therefore eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance. FMI and other groups supported that stipulation to account for seasonal variations in scheduling and other factors that might not be accounted for in a shorter "look back" period.

In addition, IRS Notice 2012-58 allows employers to determine the affordability of health care by using the wages reported on employees' W-2 forms, rather than calculating affordability as a percentage of household income.

Read more: 'Uncertainty Remains' on Health Care

“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% of an employee’s wages,” said Jennifer Hatcher, senior vice president of government and public affairs, FMI, in a statement. “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.”

She said FMI remains concerned about many other aspects of the ACA, however, including the deadline for implementation of reforms, and the definition of full-time employees as those averaging 30 hours per week.

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