Health Care Reform Update – Penalties for Not Providing Coverage Increased to $2,000 per Employee for "Larger Employees"
The House of Representatives increased the penalty to $2,000 per employee for not providing health care coverage in the final budget reconciliation bill passed by the Senate. More employers will be required to pay penalties or provide coverage because the definition of "larger employer" was expanded to include more businesses in the coverage mandates. Part-time workers will also be included in calculating which companies qualify as "larger employers".
Companies employing more than 50 employees for more than 120 days per year are "larger employers". An FTE is a person who works for a company at least 120 days per year for an average of 30 hours per week. The penalty for not providing coverage to employees is $2,000 per FTE, not $750 as previously reported for companies with more than 50 FTE’s. The Senate website summary of the bill is incorrect. Part-time employees are included in calculating the number of FTE's per month by taking the total hours worked and dividing them by 120. "Larger employers" are not eligible for the exemption for seasonal employees.
The AOA website has overview on the bill including time lines for implementation. While most outfitters are not going to be impacted by the coverage requirements, they will be required to comply with some of the reporting. A few larger outfitters will be required to provide coverage or pay the penalties. The National Ski Areas Association has generously offered their analysis of the bill, which is posted under Legislation in the Members area of the AOA website.
White House Conference on the Great Outdoors Initiative Scheduled for April 16th
The Obama Administration announced last Friday that they will convene a White House conference to discuss the Administration’s Great Outdoors Initiative to convene on April 16th. The initiative is largely expected to deal with:
• Full funding for the Land and Water Conservation fund and finding a source for that funding which could include use of off-shore oil and gas revenues;
• an omnibus lands bill which will include more wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations;
• designation of National Monuments on BLM land.
We Need Stories about Your Efforts to Provide Trips and Outdoor Activities for Disadvantaged Groups
AOA’s Executive Director has been asked to give a presentation to a group of recreation leaders on what outfitters are doing to provide services to youth, underserved or disadvantaged segments of the population.
We need to hear your stories. Send an email with a paragraph description and a couple of photos of your program to firstname.lastname@example.org Describe:
• who your programs serves;
• how many people per year;
• how long you have been providing these special services;
• any pertinent comments about the results.
Send the information before Thursday, April 1st. Thanks.
Utah Governor Authorizes Bill to Seize Federal Lands for the State
Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law over the weekend that purports to give the state the authority to seize federal lands managed by BLM and other federal agencies through the use of eminent domain. 60% of Utah is owned by the federal government and Utah officials believe that the school system suffers from lack of funding because of federal control and the loss of revenues from potential energy production. The bill is likely to spark a court battle, which many do not believe will stand due to the federal supremacy clause in the Constitution, among other reasons.