MNsure won't be affected by Obamacare delay

The state's new health insurance exchange, MNsure, won't be affected by the Obama administration's decision today to delay a key employer mandate under the federal health care law, Minnesota officials say.

The mandate requiring businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance or face a penalty will be delayed until 2015. The U.S. Treasury announced that the Obama administration is bowing to business groups that had pushed for extra time before the mandate kicks in.

The delay in the mandate will not affect MNsure because businesses of that size were already exempt from the mandate, MNsure's Executive Director April Todd Malmlov said. MNsure goes live Oct. 1 and will offer small business coverage but only for firms with fewer than 50 employees.

"For small businesses going through MNsure, it won't have an impact. They're not subject to the employer mandate," Malmlov said.

Starting in 2015, the mandate primarily affects larger businesses. Fines could be imposed those businesses do not provide health coverage to their workers. The individual mandate that most Americans obtain health insurance is still scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said the delay shouldn't make much difference in the state overall.

"In Minnesota, we have been blessed with employers who've been remarkably responsible about providing health insurance to their employees," Jesson said. "I don't see that changing in the near term or the long term. I don't see this as having a major impact for most of our Minnesota citizens."

The National Federation of Independent Business released a statement that "temporary relief is small consolation."

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