Affordable Care Act, “ObamaCare” compliance for companies large and small

Brauer Insurance is California certified in ObamaCare Health Reform Law by the National Association of Health Underwriters. We are one of the leaders in teaching the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to other agents that do not specialize in Health Insurance. The founder, Steve Brauer, has taught ObamaCare compliance at UC Santa Cruz Extension.

Many companies that we speak to are confused and misinformed about how ObamaCare; (Affordable Care Act) will affect them and their business. It’s confusing about what it will take to comply with the law. Most employers do not realize that if their companies offers Group Health Insurance NOW, by law, they have to have certain compliance paperwork on hand and ready to provide to employees that ask, or face fines. This even applies to companies with only 2 employees.

To become compliant is not hard, you just have to know what to do to get compliant. The government, is moving fast to implement all of the aspects of the ACA. There are many mandated employer reporting requirements under the law that most brokers are not aware of, especially if they do not specialize in Health Insurance.

To give a little ObamaCare background, the goal was to have “affordable” coverage available to everyone on a guarantee issue basis, no matter what pre-existing conditions someone had. In 2014, every person was required by law to obtain some sort of coverage or pay a “tax”. This has been a very heated and controversial issue which has dominated the news for some time.

People will be able to obtain the coverage from their employer, a Health Insurance Exchange, or from the expanded Medi-Cal program if their income is low enough. People with incomes that are up to 400% of the federal poverty level may be eligible for government subsidies.

Employers with 100+ Full Time or Full Time “equivalent” employees are required to provide a minimum level Health Insurance coverage to their employees or pay a penalty beginning in 2015, smaller employers with 50-99 starts in 2016. Currently the penalty for non-compliance stands at $2000 per employee. The calculation is complex and brings in an actual count of the number of employees, both full and part time to determine the violation. According to statistics, almost 90% of the employers with over 50 employees already have Employee Benefits in place.

For larger businesses that are considering splitting their company or making everyone a 1099 employee should probably reconsider. The IRS will be doing audits on companies that they feel are trying to skirt the law or change status suddenly. This would most definitely trigger a penalty. Some employers have told us that they plan to reduce their workforce and switch many full timers to part time to be able to afford to pay for the new ObamaCare requirements. We’re told that those companies that have a drastic reduction will be audited as well.

The law was signed into effect in 2010 and it’s had several revisions since then. The ACA and it’s framework will continue to be wordsmithed, tested and hopefully made more palatable for all of us.