In the end, we are only arguing semantics. It is a fact that they will be receiving their health care plans through the exchange. So to say that they got an exemption is stretching the truth.
If you read it, you would note that when the law was passed congress was subject to the law but when they found they were giving up their golden ticket, Obama stepped in and the government subsidized their payments into the exchanges. At least that's what the article said, if you read it.
If my employer switches insurance companies and I tell them that they must continue to pay 50% of my premiums or I will leave for another job offer, and they agree to pay it, that isn't me getting an exemption from the switch.