While companies with 50 or more full-time employees will not be required to offer health coverage to employees till 2015, other provisions of the ACA will be applicable in 2014, according to XpertHR.
“It’s important to understand what has been and what has not been delayed,” says Tracy Morley, a legal editor with XpertHR, based in New Providence, New Jersey. “Even though large employers have a respite until 2015, the requirement for individuals to obtain health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty was not delayed.”
Provisions of the ACA that are effective in 2014 include: the establishment of insurance exchanges that sell qualified health plans to individuals and small businesses; the elimination of all pre-existing condition exclusions; dependent coverage expansion (applicable to grandfathered plans); and the elimination of annual dollar limits on essential health benefits. Morley advises that employers should be developing action plans to ensure they are ready for compliance with the ACA.
“The pressure will be on human resource departments in 2014 to lead the charge and develop an action plan for the new reporting responsibilities and tax implications,” adds Morley. “The ACA requirements are so complex that human resource professionals will need guidance in spearheading the effort to ramp up for implementation in 2015.”
XpertHR offers several steps for employers to prepare for the ACA, which include:
- Understanding what is (and what is not) delayed.
- Determining if there is a requirement to offer coverage in 2015. Companies that meet the 50 full-time employee threshold must either offer coverage or pay a penalty.
- Understanding the affordability and minimum value requirements. Companies that do not offer coverage, or offer coverage that does not provide minimum value or is considered unaffordable, may be subject to a penalty in 2015.
- Evaluating, strategizing and making decisions about health insurance. Companies need to consider the cost of penalties and the effect of changing the composition of the work force.
- Reviewing and revising plan documents to conform with new ACA design, eligibility and enrollment requirements.
- Communicating to employees. The ACA imposes additional communication requirements on employers, many of which are already in effect.
- Understanding new federal reporting requirements. Beginning in 2015, employers will be required to provide certain information to their employees, as well as the Internal Revenue Service.
The tool kit offered by XpertHR offers employers a report, how-to articles and a timeline of 2014 to 2015 requirements. This material explains the ACA provisions, cost implications and deadlines for implementation.
More information about the Affordable Care Act Employer’s Tool Kit can be found here.
XpertHR is an online service that provides practical compliance tools and comprehensive guidance on federal, state and municipal law, helping employers to stay current on employment law issues.
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