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How does the “play or pay” provision of the health care reform law work?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 includes two play or pay provisions: one for individuals and one for employers. Both are set to start in 2014, although there are a number of pending legal challenges to these requirements that could change the rules. As the law stands currently, all individuals will have to be covered by health insurance or pay a fine; help will be available for those who can’t afford coverage. The employer mandate requires employers with at least 50 employees to provide health care coverage for employees or pay a fine. Even employers who provide coverage may have to pay a fine, depending on the benefits provided, their cost, and employees’ ability to pay. For more information, see Nolo’s article Health Care Reform: What Employers and Employees Need to Know.

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