ACA Update: Further Delay Provides More Breathing Room for Employers

Various news outlets are reporting that the Obama administration announced today (February 10, 2014) that employers with between 50-99 employees will get an extra year until they must offer health insurance to their full-time employees. This means offering insurance will not be mandatory until 2016 for these employers.

Large employers (100 employees and up) were also given a break. For 2015, they must offer affordable health insurance to 70% of eligible employees, rather than the previously required 95%. Beginning in 2016 the percentage then goes to 95%.

It appears as well that employers will need to certify (not clear how) that they did not lay off any workers to get below the 100 employee threshold in order to qualify for the delay.

Stay tuned for more details.

Delay of the Affordable Care Act’s Employer Mandate Provision

Most likely you have heard by now that the Obama Administration has announced that it would delay enforcement of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until 2015. This is big news.  The employer mandate requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance to their employees or pay a penalty (shared responsibility). By delaying the employer mandate provision, the administration is delaying the majority of the compliance reporting related to the ACA for employers over or near the 50 employee mark. The laws two other main provisions, the expansion of Medicare and the personal mandate to obtain coverage are still on track. It is important to note as well  that the essential health benefits requirement relating to small employers is also still in effect. That is, if you are a small employer (under 50 employees) who happens to offer a health plan, your plan will still need to meet the essential health benefits outlined in the ACA. In other words, your rates could very well go up if you are a small employer who offers a health plan.

Important in this announcement is the reason for the delay. The administration has specifically acknowledged the complexity of required reporting and the need for more time for employers to prepare for this. This acknowledgement would seem to leave the door open for a revision (dare I say Simplification?) of reporting requirements. We shall see. Predicting the future of the ACA has proven to be treacherous. In the meantime, employers can breathe a sigh of relief but should use this brief reprieve to position themselves for flexible, robust reporting of their wages and hours. When the ground shifts, those with a solid foundation survive. The lesson of this recent twist in the roll out of the Affordable Care Act? Keep moving towards a unified workforce management platform with flexible reporting and stay tuned.

Payroll Data Becomes More Important

One clear result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that getting good data out of your payroll, timetracking and HR system is going to become even more important than ever. It is also clear that those systems are going to have to be tightly linked together, if exist as one system. In reading the provisions of the ACA one begins to wonder if this new set of regulations could even have been contemplated in the years before robust workforce management systems existed. This much is clear now though: in order to comply with the new regulations flowing out of the ACA, every employer is going to need to have a way to capture, track, report on and analyze their data relating to their employees.

Continue reading “Payroll Data Becomes More Important”