Included in the provisions of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are a series of regulations outlining requirements for businesses to provide insurance to their full-time employees. Business owners should make the effort to keep themselves updated on these regulations, as there have been adjustments and revisions since the passage of the act, which could influence decisions about how to manage assets.
The ACA issues a mandate on all businesses that employ 50 or more full-time workers (defined as a person who works 30 hours or more each week, but not including “seasonal” employees), requiring they provide a minimum of health coverage to those employees. Failure to comply may cost the business a steep fine of $2,000 per uninsured employee. However, recent news from the government puts those businesses in two tiers, with different stipulations for each. For example, businesses that employ between 50-99 employees, for example, have until January 1, 2016 to comply with the law—a shift from the original deadline of January 1, 2015. These businesses must, however, certify that they did not reduce their workforce below 100 employees specifically to be granted this extra year.
Businesses that employ 100 or more full-time workers remain beholden to the January 1, 2015 deadline, but have been given a more relaxed minimum threshold for how many employees must be insured by that date. Originally, the ACA demanded that these larger businesses be in compliance for 95% of their full-time workforce by the 2015 deadline; currently they have until 2016 to meet that threshold, although they must achieve 70% by the 2015 deadline.
The regulations additionally provide businesses with help determining how to comply with the law, including ways to determine exactly how many full-time workers should be counted and whether or not their coverage will be affordable. While these are current regulations, however, businesses should remain aware that these are not necessarily final—deadlines could shift and other clarifications may be made.