We have all heard and read about the Affordable Care Act more times than we could probably count since it became law in 2012. And despite the fact that it is considered one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in recent history (if not the single most important decision), many business owners are still unaware of exactly how it affects them.
“President Obama’s health care reform laws will keep employers busy for years to come, first trying to understand and then responding to the complicated new regulations, mandates and taxes.” (National Association of Manufactures)
Many provisions of the ACA have yet to go into effect. Starting in 2014, for example, employers with 50 or more full-time employees (or the part-time equivalent) will have to pay a fee for any month in which they do not provide employees with adequate and affordable employer-sponsored health care coverage. The fee will start at $2,000 per full-time employee, excluding the first 30 employees.
Employers will be able to “pay or play.” In other words, employers can choose to start or continue offering adequate and affordable health care coverage to employees or they can choose to pay the fines.
Another ACA provision that will go into effect in 2014 is the rule that employers cannot offer different health insurance plans to employees that receive higher compensation. This is to prevent discrimination in favor of high-earning employees.
Employers can find a complete breakdown of the provisions and the dates they go into effect in the ACA timeline, “What’s Changing and When,” provided by HealthCare.gov.
Are you an employer making several changes to your group healthcare plan as a result of the Affordable Care Act? Do you have advice for others? Please comment below.
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