Calculator Adds Up Cost of Employer Health Care Mandates

May 26, 2010 ( – Plan sponsors struggling to estimate the potential costs of new mandates under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have a new tool to help.

The National Retail Federation has created a new online tool to help retailers and other businesses determine what penalties they might face under the recently enacted federal health care reform law.

“The mandate penalties are both complicated and abstract,” NRF Vice President and Employee Benefits Policy Counsel Neil Trautwein said. “NRF has come up with a way to make these calculations a little easier for both the retail community and employers at large. This will allow businesses to gauge their potential penalty exposure as they plan for the future.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that companies with 50 or more full-time employees either provide health benefits to all full-time workers or pay a $2,000 annual penalty for each one not covered beginning in 2014.

NRF’s Health Care Mandate Cost Calculator allows retailers to determine the amount of those penalties by typing in their number of full-time employees, and part-time employee hours if an employer has fewer than 50 full-time workers. It also offers guidance on penalties for those who offer insurance that isn’t considered “affordable” under the new law’s guidelines.  According to a press release, while the formula for the penalties appears simple on the surface, the calculator takes into account exceptions, limits and other factors that affect the total.

The calculator is available on the NRF health care reform page at or