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Employers, Are You Ignoring the Affordable Care Act?

Employers, Are You Ignoring the Affordable Care Act?

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By Outside-In® Team Member, Lisa Turner

If your business has fewer than 50 employees, it may be tempting to ignore the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is no secret that employers have dealt with their fair share of challenges around compliance, including rising premium costs, increased reporting and administrative costs, to name a few.

Although small businesses are not required to offer benefits to their employees, there are still other aspects of the legislation that could apply. If you are over 25 employees, it is especially important to have someone in your organization that’s paying attention to the state of affairs within your company and looking externally to changes or updates to the legislation.

Here are some key areas to pay attention to in 2015:

1. Most importantly, pay attention to your total number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. When looking at your headcount, part time employees matter! Part-time employees must be converted into a Full-Time Equivalency headcount — which means that keeping employees as part-time is not a viable strategy to stay under 50 or avoid offering benefits.

Need help crunching the numbers? Here is a great tool with additional information on who should (and should not!) be included in your headcount.

2. Small employers looking to provide coverage can do so through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), part of the Health Insurance Marketplaces. SHOP is open to employers with up to 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.

3. If you are a small employer that does offer benefit plans, you may be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

4. It’s always important to talk to your trusted advisors. Before making any major decisions regarding your coverages (or lack thereof), make sure to consult your attorney and your benefit broker. A brokerage firm can be an invaluable source of information, especially if you have never offered benefits to your employees in the past (or if you have offered to a small group and want to continue to remain compliant).

Many companies were holding out hope that the recent King v. Burwell decision would begin a chain of events that would start unraveling the Affordable Care Act by disrupting the subsidy program. This did not happen and the penalties for non-compliance are steep! Protect your company by making sure you are doing everything required to stay in compliance in 2015 and beyond.

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