The Affordable Care Act: What Business Owners Should Know
On July 2, 2013, the Obama administration made the decision to delay the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act until January 2015. According to information released by the House Budget Committee, the delay is estimated to cost the nation a reported $12 billion more than previously determined. What does this mean for you as a business owner? While the nation is projected to accumulate high costs over the next couple of years, we want to make sure your business avoids doing the same. Before implementation, a few basic assessments are necessary.
Know your employees. Under the employer mandate, businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees are required to offer a qualified health plan to their full-time employees. To find out if this applies to your business, you need to know how to correctly count your employees. Answer the following questions: Who are your full-time year-round employees? Who are your full-time partial-year employees? Who are your temporary employees? These answers should help you calculate a fairly accurate number of your full-time equivalent employees. This number will determine if you are subject to the employer mandate. Although be aware, if you own more than one business, there may be other factors you may have to take into account.
Know your options. Although the ACA requires a business with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer qualified health plans (or likely be penalized), there are other routes you should consider. Take some time to weigh your options. List the pros and cons of offering qualified insurance. Assess your financials. Ask yourself, what’s important to you as an employer? The Affordable Care Act is not black or white. There are a variety of ways to intelligently respond to it.
Know the SHOP Exchanges. On October 1, 2013, the Small Business Health Options Program Exchange will only be available to businesses with 50 or less full-time employees, with the exception of some states allowing 100. All businesses with more than 50 and less than 100 full-time employees will have access to the SHOPs beginning in 2016. The provisions for SHOP Exchanges vary from state to state. For Texas, the federal government will run the exchanges. While 12 states have already released premium rates to the public, Texas is not yet one of them.
Should you have any questions about the Affordable Care Act, give us a call. We have answers for you. With our professional advice, we can customize a plan to best benefit you and your business moving forward.
Mario K. Castillo