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Misconceptions surrounding the ACA

Published on July 22nd, 2013 by Triton Benefits & HR Solutions

The Affordable Care Act is one of the most notable factors affecting human resources departments throughout the United States. The law is meant to ensure that all Americans have access to medical coverage. Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions that surrounding the ACA, making it difficult for HR representatives to plan and become compliant with the federal mandate. Below is an examination of some of the common misconceptions regarding the healthcare bill. 

The employer mandate is canceled
Recently, the implementation of the ACA's employer mandate was delayed until 2015. The postponement is to ensure that companies have sufficient time to adhere to the new standards and to allow the federal government to improve reporting procedures. 

This delay means that there is another year before the ACA will regulate how businesses offer medical coverage, not that employer provision is canceled outright. You should not treat this time as if you don't have to comply with law. Instead, you should follow updates and then adhere to the new guidelines once they're released to the public. 

All companies are affected
There's a belief that every business in the United States has to comply with the ACA, but that's not true. The Congressional Research Service, in a report hosted by the Federation of American Scientists, explains that only companies that have the equivalent of 50 or more full-time staff members need to comply. Full-timers are defined as employees who work an average of 30 hours per week. What's more, part-time contributors are included in your total. For the calculation, the hours your part-timers work are added up and the sum is divided by 120. 

This provision is meant to help small businesses that have limited finances and may not be able to buy health coverage for employees. The 50-employee threshold ensures that these companies don't have to add new expenses. 

Every insurance plan is compliant
According to the Democratic Policy & Communications Council, companies with 200 employees or more must enroll their workers in health insurance plans. Additionally, employers with 50 or more  full-time equivalent workers must offer insurance plans that cover at least 60 percent of medical costs to avoid penalties. This is to ensure that companies are offering sufficient coverage to their staffs. 

Coverage extends to entire families
The ACA requires employers share healthcare costs for staff members and their dependents. However, Mother Jones explains that the current version of the ACA doesn't include stipulations for employees' spouses. Tim Jost, a professor at at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, told the news source that this will shape how companies structure their healthcare policies

"Right now there are virtually no employers that just offer coverage for the employee and their children. Whether that will change or not, who knows. We will probably see at least some employers who will offer individual and child coverage, but not coverage for spouses," said Jost. 

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