Earlier today, the US Treasury Department announced two major modifications to the “employer” end of the Affordable Care Act:
- Businesses that employ 50-99 full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) will have until Jan. 1, 2016, to offer minimum coverage (or pay a fine). This is a delay of 1 year.
- Businesses that employ 100 or more workers will still have to start offering minimum coverage by Jan. 1, 2015, but instead of offering it to 95% of their FTEs, they must offer it to 70% of them. For 2015, anyway; starting Jan. 1, 2016, they will be expected to hit the 95% target.
Of course, businesses with fewer than 50 FTEs don’t have to worry about the employer mandate, ever.
What does this mean for you?
Well, if your business is in the 50-99 FTE range, you’ve got another year to finalize your plan for handling the ACA. But definitely have a plan in place, because while the law may undergo several more delays and adjustments, it’s unlikely that it will be repealed altogether.
One thing you should know (and make sure your employees know this too) is that these delays only affect the employer mandate, not the individual mandate. Individuals are still required to have enrolled in a health insurance plan by March 31, 2014 (only 7 weeks away!).
If your business has 100 or more FTEs, you’re still going to have to offer “minimum effective coverage” to your FTEs, but, for this year only, you only have to offer it to 70% of them, not 95%.
Then there’s the matter of calculating your FTEs. The ACA defines a full-time employee as “an employee who, with respect to any month, is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.” Next week, we’ll talk a bit more about how to calculate this rate if you have a shifting workforce.
Hang in there folks, we’ll get through this together!