Trade Groups Back Bill to End Obamacare Auto-Enroll Provision

A Senate bill that would remove the Affordable Care Act's requirement to auto-enroll employees into a health insurance plan earned support from dozens of trade groups and companies this week.

The Affordable Care Act was back  in the headlines yesterday, thanks to a pair of conflicting appeals court rulings on insurance subsidies. But in the world of business, it’s a bill in Congress that’s been drawing much of the attention in recent days.

The Auto Enroll Repeal Act (S. 2546), introduced by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) last month, would remove a provision in the law that requires large employers to automatically enroll employees in a healthcare plan if they don’t sign up for one. A similar House bill (H.R. 1254) was introduced last year by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC).

The Senate measure has received wide support from trade groups in the retail and food service industries, including the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Restaurant Association. On Tuesday, RILA sent a letter to Isakson’s office, signed by 170 trade groups and businesses, supporting the bill.

“We are concerned that automatic enrollment may create additional confusion for our employees in an already complex benefit area and could result in unnecessary hardship if they find themselves automatically enrolled in a plan in which they do not wish to participate,” the letter states [PDF]. “In addition, the automatic-enrollment requirement is redundant, expensive, and unnecessarily burdensome for employers without increasing employees’ access to coverage.”

The letter notes that the Department of Labor has cited the complexity of the auto-enroll provision as a reason for delays in implementing the law.

In comments on the letter, Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs at the National Restaurant Association, added: “As it stands, the auto-enrollment requirement will have damaging impacts on both restaurant owners and their employees—leaving much misinterpretation for employees about their decision on coverage and creating additional administrative burdens for employers.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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