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Help With Implementing Obamacare
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, poses several challenges to employers as they work to understand and implement the many parts of the law. Perhaps the greatest challenge is that, so far, the implementation has been kind of a moving target. For example, the employer mandate, which was scheduled to take effect in 2014, has been delayed a year.
That is good news for many employers. But there are still a lot of parts of the law that are scheduled to take effect this year and next. For example:
Perhaps the most difficult part of adjusting to the new law is the fact that details are hard to come by. The issue remains a huge political football; the House of Representatives continues to vote to repeal or defund the law entirely, and individual states struggle with the details of the insurance marketplaces. In some states, the marketplaces are run entirely by the state, in some they are run entirely by the federal government, and in some they are run by a partnership between the state and the federal government.
- All employers are required to notify their employees about the availability of the new insurance exchanges, now called insurance marketplaces. Those notices must be made prior to Oct. 1, 2013.
- Starting Jan. 1, 2013, an employee is allowed to put a maximum of $2,500 per year into a flexible spending account, or FSA. Employers that offer FSAs should have made and communicated this change.
- A number of new fees will kick in starting Jan. 1, 2014. These include the PCOR (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) fee and a reinsurance fee. In addition, employers that buy health insurance from a carrier must pay the HIT (Health Insurance Tax) fee; self-insured employers do not have to pay the fee. At the moment, it is unclear exactly how much these fees will be. Some carriers plan to incorporate them into their premiums, and others plan to charge separately.
- Starting in 2014, the waiting period before a new hire is eligible for health care benefits cannot be more than 90 days.
- Also starting in 2014, employers must offer health care coverage to an employee working at least 30 hours a week.
At The Bensman Group, we have developed a number of tools to keep you updated on changes in the law and to help you with your implementation. Since the fall of 2012, we have hosted webinars explaining aspects of the law. We regularly send emails with information about the law and its implementation.
Most importantly, we are available to meet with you to help you determine how the law might affect your employee health care plan. We can help you understand what you need to do, and help you identify the best and most effective approach for your employees and your business.
There is no doubt that there is a lot of confusion surrounding the law. But there also is no doubt that health care benefits are critically important to your employees and to your company. We are ready to help if you have questions or concerns. Just contact us at 847-572-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.