Frequently asked questions about the ACA

Frequently asked questions about the ACA

With the recent postponement of the employer provision, there is still confusion swirling around the Affordable Care Act. Many human resources professionals and business owners have questions about how the law's employer provisions will affect their companies. 

If you're unsure if your business is ACA compliant or aren't clear on the basics of the federal mandate, read the following list of frequently asked questions and their answers. 

What day will the ACA affect my company?
The ACA's various provisions are being gradually enacted over the next few years. For businesses, there's only one truly important date – January 1, 2015. According to the Small Business Administration, that is the day that the employer provisions will officially go into effect. Initially, this portion of the ACA was supposed to be implemented on January 1, 2014, but the Obama administration delayed it for a year to improve reporting procedures. 

Does my enterprise have to offer insurance?
Companies are required to offer insurance coverage to their employees under the ACA, according to the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. The law stipulates that companies with 50 full-time equivalent employees or more must offer insurance that covers 60 percent of qualifying medical costs. 

What if my business already offers medical coverage?
If your organization already provides group health insurance to employees, then there's no cause for concern. CBS Los Angeles explains that companies that have medical plans in place are permissible under the ACA's grandfather clause

This means that your HR department doesn't have to worry about compliance as long as the old insurance coverage is kept in place. If your company decides to find new health coverage, it is governed by the ACA and must comply with all provisions. 

Is the company responsible for covering whole families?
No, medical coverage doesn't have to extend employees' entire families. Spouses don't have to be included in insurance plans, only dependents who are under the age of 26. 

What are the penalties for noncompliance?
The University of California, Berkeley Labor Center explains that companies that don't cover at least 95 percent of the staff can be charged $2,000 per full-time employee beyond a 30-person threshold. This means if you have 50 full-timers you'd be charged $2,000 for 20 staff members. Additionally, companies can be charged $3,000 per worker who tax credits from "the Exchange," the DPCC explains. The penalty will be the lesser of the two amounts. 

At what point do employees have to be offered healthcare?
According to UC Berkeley Labor Center, all workers must be offered healthcare after 90 days. 

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