Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect in 2013, there have been a number of changes to its mandates.
The latest, directed businesses, came on February 10. The Obama administration announced that it will again push back the deadline for employers with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance to their workers.
Businesses with 50 to 99 employees had seen an extension in the mandate to provide health insurance to their employees to Jan. 1, 2015. That extension is now even longer, and those businesses have until 2016.
Employers with more than 100 workers, many of which already offer health coverage, have more time to provide coverage based on the number of full time employees they have. According to the U.S. Treasury Department’s press release, “today’s rules phase in the percentage of full-time workers that employers need to offer coverage from 70 percent in 2015 to 95 percent in 2016 and beyond. Employers in this category that do not meet these standards will make an employer responsibility payment for 2015.”
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the mandate. They can instead buy insurance through marketplaces created under ACA.
Small business enrollment seems to be sluggish so far, and in many states businesses won’t have access to the federal small-business marketplace until the fall.
For small to medium size businesses wondering what the latest changes mean, there are a few resources out there: this fact sheet gives more detail on ACA requirements for businesses and the Small Business Administration offers webinars about the ACA for small businesses.