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    Retailers, White House to Meet About Affordable Care Act

    Definition of full-time employees and possibility of an employer grace period to comply with the law will be discussed.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- White House officials will meet with retail leaders in an effort to discuss issues expected to arise when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is enacted in 2014, reported Inside Health Policy.

    Associations from nearly aspect of the retail sector condemned the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last week that the ACA was indeed constitutional. Some groups subsequently sent letters to the White House urging the Obama Administration to release regulations of the ACA so that retailers can move forward in anticipation of its implementation.

    One such group was the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which is asking for a clarification about how the administration will define a full-time employee. Retailers also have asked for a transition period in which employers that offer health care coverage in good faith would be exempt from penalties, according to the news report.

    Regarding the full-time employee question, Christine Pollack, RILA's vice president of government relations, told the news outlet that the administration intends to define a full-time worker as someone who works an average of 30 hours per week, and would allow employers a three-month "look back" period when determining hours. Pollack said a three-to-12-month look back period is preferred.

    As for the transition period, RILA and other groups are asking the administration to grant employers until 2016 to fully comply with the ACA.

    "RILA is gravely concerned that overly burdensome, inflexible regulations will cause millions of Americans to churn in and out of the employer-sponsored system," RILA's July 2 letter to the Obama Administration said. "Employers of variable workforces face unique challenges. RILA strongly urges that regulations recognize these unique challenges by including flexible approaches that can avoid the revolving door, or churn, effect of employees bouncing between employer-sponsored plans, exchange coverage, or federal health programs."

    Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has repeatedly said that repealing the ACA would be first on his agenda if elected in November.

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