How will the ACA affect your business this year?

Posted December 29, 2014

We won't see a lot of changes in the Affordable Care Act in the coming year, but it's important to know what they are and what you need to know to stay covered and save money. You'll want to keep up to date on what steps you should take to ensure the law is working for you, how to make sure you have the right plan, and more. Here's what to expect:

State Marketplace Changes
Three states—Idaho, Nevada and Oregon—have changed their marketplace offerings. Any state may change their offerings every new year, so you'll want to keep an eye on what your state decides. All 2014 marketplace plans end December 31st, 2014 and new 2015 plans start as early January 1st, 2015.

Premium Changes
Just as in past years, with or without the ACA, the costs associated with healthcare will rise. Current projections show that rates are growing more slowly than in previous years, but if you're concerned about premium hikes in your region, look at state insurance boards, and compare insurance providers in your area to get the full scoop on rate hikes.

The Employer Mandate / Employer Penalty
The ACA's employer mandate/employer penalty, which was supposed to begin in 2014, was pushed forward into 2015/2016. This mandate is the one that requires all businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees to provide health insurance for their full-time employees or pay a fee.

This year, small businesses with 50-99 FTE employees will need to start preparing to insure those workers by 2016. Those businesses employing 100 or more will need to start providing health benefits to at least 70 percent in 2015 and 95 percent by 2016. If you have 25 or fewer FTE employees, you'll still qualify for health care tax credits.

If you have more than 50 FTE employees and don't offer health coverage, you'll have to pay the employer mandate fee, officially called the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment. The annual fee is $2,000 per employee, with the first 30 full-time employees being exempt. It's charged per month, due annually on your federal tax returns.

You'll have to pay additional amounts if at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit because coverage is either unaffordable or does not cover 60 percent of total costs. And unlike employer contributions to employee premiums, the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment is not tax deductible.

For more in-depth information, you'll want to contact your insurance broker. And if you'd like to know more about how to augment your staff without having to hire more FTE employees, call Team Ambassador.