Last year, the ACA (Affordable Care Act) mandate for employers to offer health insurance to employees was pushed to January 1, 2015. Many employers did early health insurance renewal in 2013 to delay the ACA provisions. Now is the time to consider your health insurance strategy for 2015 and beyond. So what should you as an employer know in terms of healthcare reform for 2015?
- On January 1, 2015, employers with 100+ full-time (or “full-time equivalent”) employees must offer health insurance to at least 70% of their eligible employees. On January 1, 2016 the requirement will be for employers with 50+ full-time equivalent (FTE) employees to offer coverage to 95% of eligible employees.
- The IRS has issued draft forms that qualified employers must complete to show that the coverage they are providing to employees complies with the ACA’s employer mandate of a “certified quality health plan.” In a nut shell, this means that the plan must be deemed “affordable,” has no annual coverage limits, there are no pre-existing condition exclusions, individuals must receive coverage under parents until age 26, and the plan provides all “minimum essential health benefits.” These IRS forms must be filed on the calendar year (the first one is due in 2016). If your plan renews mid-year, you can defer reporting in 2016 until the first day of the plan’s renewal.
- There are several complicated questions that make this employer mandate difficult to administer, including:
- Which employees are considered to be “full-time,” and how are “full-time equivalent” employees calculated to determine whether a company must comply with this mandate?
- What constitutes affordability?
- What are the penalties for not offering coverage and/or not providing coverage that meets the minimum value or affordability standards?
Regardless of government mandates, an attractive benefits package is still a highly valued recruiting and retention tool for companies. As of January 1, 2014, individuals must have coverage or face a penalty per the “individual mandate.” The ACA large employer mandate only requires employees to be covered, not dependents. This means that highly talented employees will be looking for an attractive benefits package that will provide coverage for both them and their families at an affordable cost.
With so many complicating factors, many employers are looking for a simple answer. ISIhr has a specialized team that includes certified ACA experts and a large-group, ACA-approved health plan for clients that will help simplify this process for you. As experts with the ACA, we advise our clients on the best options for their business and employees, all while ensuring compliance with the ever-evolving mandate, now and in the future. Please contact us today for more information.