Affordable Care Act Information for Employers
As the year ends, employers have one more task to check off their already busy to-do lists: educate themselves regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This comprehensive overhaul of the country’s health care system will have a significant impact on employers.
The first step for all employers is determining whether they are required to offer health insurance coverage to their full-time employees under the act’s Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions. Those provisions require “large employers” to offer a certain level of health coverage to their full-time employees, or otherwise incur monetary penalties.
Determining whether your organization is a “large employer” for purposes of the act may not be as straightforward as it initially seems. “Large employers” are those that employed an average of at least fifty full-time employees during the previous year. Special rules, however, govern whether an employee should be categorized as full-time, and how seasonal and part-time employees should be treated. In some cases, partnerships, parent-subsidiaries and other organizations will have to aggregate their total number of employees.
Employers should take care to determine their obligations under the act. Large employers that don’t fulfill their duties must pay monetary penalties. Alternatively, small employers may be entitled to tax credits or increased options for purchasing employee health coverage.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its regulations, which are set to take effect this January, 2014 are exceedingly complex. Employers are encouraged to visit www.healthcare.gov to learn more about their role in providing health coverage. Employers with additional questions regarding their duties under this statute are encouraged to contact a member of Eastburn and Gray’s Employment and Discrimination group.
Author: Erin N. Kernan