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Congress repeals health reform law's automatic enrollment mandate

Congress repeals health reform law's automatic enrollment mandate

Thanks to congressional action Friday morning, employers no longer will face a health care reform law requirement that they automatically enroll employees who don't choose a group health care plan.

Included in budget legislation, H.R. 1314, given final approval by the Senate on Friday, is a provision that repeals a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requirement that employers with at least 200 employees automatically enroll employees who don't select coverage.

The automatic enrollment requirement, though, has yet to go into effect. Earlier, regulators said it would be effective after final rules were published, which never happened. Employee benefit groups said developing rules was a low regulatory priority.

Benefit experts warned that if the automatic enrollment requirement had been implemented, it would have led to messy situations, such as when employers automatically enrolled employees and then found out that the employee was covered by a health plan offered by their spouse's employer.

Also included in the budget measure, which President Barack Obama said he will sign, are provisions that will sharply increase premiums employers with defined benefit plans pay the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

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