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Overdrive Staff | October 01, 2011


Carriers can prepare for Health Care Act

Trucking industry preparation for the Affordable (health) Care Act appears similar to the industry view of the Compliance Safety Accountability program in 2008, TrueNorth Companies representatives said Sept. 13.

Some companies took two years to prepare for the enforcement program that was due to begin in late 2010. Some of those who didn’t act found shipper contracts falling away due to bad rankings in the Safety Measurement System.

TrueNorth urged companies to take a proactive approach to the health care changes to avoid being surprised by new requirements and penalties.

Uncertainty remains about the legality of the individual mandate to buy health insurance in 2014. “There are 26 lawsuits in the judicial system right now” challenging the mandate, said TrueNorth Account Manager Bob Mreen. “Ultimately the fate of the mandate will be decided by the Supreme Court.”

Mreen said such a decision may occur during the 2012 national election. “It’s going to be a bellwether issue, depending on the timing of the Supreme Court decision,” he said.

For companies utilizing independent contractors, TrueNorth stressed the need for insurers and carriers to talk with contractors about health insurance developments, such as:

• In effect since the 2010 tax year is a business tax credit available to employers with fewer than 25 full-time employees, exclusive of owners and family members. If the employer, whether a small fleet running under its own authority or leased to a larger carrier, contributes at least 50 percent to its employees’ health insurance premiums, it can deduct a growing percentage of premium costs from its federal income taxes.

• The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is in place, offering individuals who’ve been without insurance for six months or more and who’ve been denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition access to a relatively affordable plan. Participation in the plan since its introduction a year ago has been low, TrueNorth said, with only 25,000 individuals enrolled of a total 375,000 projected in the legislation.

— Staff reports



HIGHWAY HAPPENINGS

CONNECTICUT. The state will receive $1 million in federal funds to help pay for cleanup and road repairs following Hurricane Irene. The state Department of Transportation says cleanup and repair may cost more than $5 million.

FLORIDA. The Federal Highway Administration awarded $1 million to add 90 truck parking spaces at the recently opened 595 Truck Stop near the junction of Interstate 595 and State Road 7 in south Florida. On-highway cameras will display real time traffic images. The stop will have about 125 paved spaces and 50 to 70 unpaved spaces when the job is finished in 2013.

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