Five Things Employers Need to Know About Health Care Reform

Amber Cruz, Human Resources Services 


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still intact – The U.S. Supreme Court’s confirmation of the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the ACA removed many uncertainties surrounding the legislation. Now, employers should double-check their compliance efforts, especially regarding immediate requirements like providing a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) to participants.


Not all provisions apply to all businesses – Employers need to determine how the law will affect their business. Some provisions only apply to small businesses with under 25 employees, while others apply to larger employers with more than 50 employees and even bigger employers with more than 200 employees. It is not only important for employers to understand ACA provisions, but they also need to determine if the provision applies to them.


Provisions apply differently by type of health care plan in some cases – Many ACA provisions affect only health plans. But, don’t assume that your dental and vision plans or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) get an automatic waiver. Employers need to be proactive to determine which of the plans they offer are subject to different provisions of the ACA.


Employers are not required to offer health plan coverage by 2014 – However, in 2014, employers with more than 50 full time equivalent employees that fail to offer affordable, minimally essential coverage to fulltime employees (defined as working 30 or more hours a week) and their dependents will face penalties.


Many of the regulations are interim and not final, so stay tuned – Employers should continue to monitor the activities of Congress and federal administrative agencies including Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL), especially in light of the November elections.