1:02 PM, Nov 13, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
In mid-October, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange quietly postponed all of the forums it had scheduled to inform small businesses about the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), as we reported. Now, in a Friday press release, the Maryland board overseeing the state's Obamacare website announced it had postponed the opening of the SHOP exchange itself from January 1 until April 1, 2014, which could impact businesses that are counting on the tax credits heavily promoted by the Obama administration to help small businesses provide coverage to their employees:
Maryland has a well- functioning small group market which offers the same prices as those that will be offered through the small group exchange, known as the SHOP. The Board approved a plan to open the SHOP on April 1, 2014, which will allow more time for testing and coordination over the next several months.
Although the press release says that Maryland's small group market offers the same prices as SHOP plans, it does not mention that beginning in 2014, the health insurance tax credits available to businesses are only available to plans purchased via the SHOP exchanges, as noted at Healthcare.gov, and as we reported back in July. Coverage for small businesses through Maryland's SHOP was previously able to start as early as March 1, 2014, but now that the opening of the marketplace has been delayed until April 1, the earliest date coverage can begin is unclear. A business that desires to take advantage of the tax credits would either have to delay coverage until SHOP plans are available, or buy a plan through the conventional insurance system, and then reapply through SHOP once the exchange opens. In either case, the tax credit would only be available for the portion of the year that SHOP coverage is in effect.
The Maryland Health Connection website itself is also still promoting the tax credits. It does not indicate what effect the delay will have on the ability of businesses to qualify, though it also notes that "[t]he health care tax credits and deductions are available only if you get coverage through the SHOP."
Since only premiums paid on coverage obtained through SHOP qualify for the tax credit, the calculator provided on the site to come up with a business's estimated annual tax credit is not accurate for coverage obtained during 2014 because it does not take the partial year into account.
Although the Maryland Health Connection website does not address the effects of the delay, a presentation prepared for a Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board Meeting on Friday, November 8, asserts that "Tax credits will not be lost – available for 2 years from first receipt." This is an apparent reference to the fact that the tax credit is limited to two consecutive years, beginning the year coverage starts. However, according to proposed rules by the IRS published in the federal register, the two-year limit is being interpreted as two tax years, not a 24-month period that may overlap into three different years [emphasis added]:
[T]his credit is available to any eligible small employer only twice (because the credit can be claimed by a small employer only for two consecutive taxable years beginning after December 31, 2013, beginning with the taxable year for which the small employer first claims the credit). Accordingly, no small employer will calculate the credit amount or complete the process for claiming the credit under this regulation more than two times.
'In Front Of Two Guys, Their Shirts Off, With a Girl Twerking In Between.'1:43 PM, Oct 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The attorney general of Maryland was criticized for attending an underage party that his son was DJ-ing. There you are, a reporter pointed to a picture of the party, "In front of two guys, their shirts off, with a girl twerking in between."
It appears underage drinking was taking place at this party, which is what's fueled criticism of the attorney general's attendance there.
10:51 AM, Oct 21, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The state of Maryland has been front and center on the launch of open enrollment through the new Obamacare insurance marketplaces on October 1. The week before the launch, President Obama joined Maryland governor Martin O'Malley in Largo, Maryland to boost public awareness of the marketplaces, and he said that if "every governor were working as hard as Governor O’Malley to make the Affordable Care Act work," even more Americans would reap its benefits.
3:12 PM, Oct 14, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
3:39 PM, Oct 8, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
9:01 AM, Oct 8, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
"If you've got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor," President Obama assured the public as he worked to sell Obamacare in 2010.
'Death penalty is racially biased.'2:53 PM, May 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The governor of the state of Maryland, Martin O'Malley, has signed legislation to repeal the death penalty.
But passed gun control bill anyway.1:22 PM, Apr 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2016, just passed a very strict gun law, which includes a so-called assault weapons ban. But what's especially interesting is that before the December shooting at a school in Connecticut, Governor O'Malley had no idea what the gun laws were in his state.
On the day after a gunman killed 20 children in Newtown, Conn., Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley wrote a text messageto his chief legislative lobbyist.
9:43 AM, Jan 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Ben Cardin today again said he had questions for Chuck Hagel, who has been nominated as secretary of defense:
10:35 AM, Nov 1, 2012 • By KYLE HUWA
Republicans often find comfort in the suburbs. But for long-time Maryland congressman Roscoe Bartlett, having a slice of Washington, D.C. suburbia added to his district means the biggest fight of his life. He now faces a tough challenge from Democrat John Delaney, the founder of a successful commercial lender company.
6:08 PM, May 31, 2012 • By KATE HAVARD
Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is lending last minute support today to Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett in Wisconsin, days before the June 5th gubernatorial recall election. O’Malley is chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, so trying to get Barrett elected is (at least part of) his job. But will he be of any help?
3:43 PM, May 14, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, a rising Democratic star who has generated some 2016 presidential buzz, published a photo on his Twitter feed this afternoon of New Mexico's Republican governor Susana Martinez, along with a delegation of visitors from the southwestern state. O'Malley's message, however, misspelled Martinez's first name--and said she was from Mexico, not New Mexico.
9:36 PM, Apr 3, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Mitt Romney is projected to win the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary, according Fox News.
8:02 PM, Apr 3, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
As polls close in Maryland and Washington, D.C., "NBC News projects Romney the winner of both," tweets NBC's Chuck Todd. "Should be a delegate sweep in MD but too early to call that part just yet," says Todd, suggesting that Romney will go over 50 percent of the vote in Maryland.