The Obama Administration has just quietly announced that it will postpone until January 2015 the ACA provision that all large employers be required to provide health insurance for all employees or face a fine.
The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, originally stipulated that those large employers, as defined by having 50 or more full time equivalent employees, must offer health benefits starting Jan. 1, 2014 or face fines of at least $2,000 per employee.
The implementation of the ACA has been one of the major topics of conversation within the business community as they tried to prepare to meet the law’s requirements. Restaurants, retail and agricultural operations, those businesses that generally utilize lower wage workers and exceed the 50 FTE requirement, were particularly concerned with the addition of the significant increase in labor costs and what effect it would have on its pricing structures. In general, many were not ready to implement health coverage. Indications were that many had already started the process of reducing their labor force.
There are numerous indications that the ACA is facing many implementation hurdles. Last year HHS eliminated the long-term care component noting that it simply was not workable. In April. HHS postponed a program designed to allow small business to offer more than one plan for their workers. Recently the Federal Government has admitted that the required Health Insurance Exchanges will not be ready to meet the law’s Oct. 1, 2013 deadline at the same time as numerous states have opted to utilize those exchanges.
And the Senate this week considered a bill that would increase from 30 to 40 hours the hours worked by a worker in order to be considered a full time equivalent employee .
There are many who feel the ACA requirements actually in place when it is fully implemented will have gone through quite a number of significant modifications in order to make the law more palatable and affordable for all participants in the business community. The general public is only just beginning to grasp what effect the ACA will have on their pocketbook. At least at the moment, the individual mandate that requires all Americans to purchase government approved health insurance or pay a fine is still scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2014.
In the mean time, the payroll industry has been gearing up to meet the many compliance and reporting issues employers will be required to meet starting Jan 1, 2014. Time & Pay is currently capable of producing information and reports as defined by the ACA ensuring our clients will be compliant.