What’s the Affordable Care Act going to do to my business? – Part 2: Can I relax for a year?

As you know, the enforcement of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act (d/b/a “ObamaCare” or the “ACA”) was recently delayed until January 1, 2015.  Many employers are tempted to think “wow, that’s wonderful. I’ll don’t have to worry about this for awhile!”

In reality, the delay does allow a little (quite useful) breathing room.  But the delay DOESN’T put off several administrative responsibilities that employers have under the law in 2013.  It also gives the small business owner a chance to take some easy steps that will make your decisions next year a bit easier.

Here’s what employers are still required to do in 2013:

  • If you currently provide health insurance coverage to any employee, you must
    • report the total value of the health insurance on each employees’ W-2;
    • provide a “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” document to ALL employees at least 60 days before 2013’s open enrollment period; and
    • limit any health-related Flexible Spending program to a max of $2500.
  • After October 1, 2013, provide a notice to you new employees about the existence of the state Insurance Exchange.

In addition to these mandated items, you can take a few steps that will make the employer insurance mandate in 2015 a bit easier:

If you own multiple businesses that now fall into a “Control Group” (as defined by the IRS), by 2015 you might have to total-up all of the employees in each of your businesses, and see if the sum of ALL your employees is greater than 50 full-time employees.  This could make all of your businesses a part of the employer mandate, even though each business has less than 50 employees.

If this is your situation, you should check with your CPA to see if the ownership of these companies can be changed so that their common ownership becomes less than 80%.  (That’s right, 80%, not 50%!)

In many cases, businesses in a “control group” that share less than 80% ownership might avoid the requirement to combine their employee count to see if they fall under the ACA health care mandate.

Secondly, if you have part-time employees, put a system in place NOW that helps you precisely manage and track the hours they work.  Limiting their weekly hours to less than 30 will help you avoid having to count them as a full time employee, even though you consider them part-time.

As you can see, the ACA is a very complex matter, and most businesses will need professional help in determining if they fall under the ACA mandate, and figuring out their best course of action if they do.

photo credit: Littmann Stethoscope via photopin (license)


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