The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer affordable healthcare insurance coverage to these employees. Since ACA reporting and audits only began in 2016, becoming familiar with compliance requirements has proven complicated and burdensome to some companies. There is no choice, however, but to comply.
Compliance and Healthcare Coverage Are the Law
If you are attempting to limit your expenses and cut employee healthcare benefits because of a tight budget, that is no longer an option under the ACA. Failure to provide compliant healthcare coverage will have companies looking at heavy monetary penalties.
The first challenge to meet is to treat ACA compliance as an ongoing responsibility. It's not possible to scramble at the last minute to meet ACA standards and avoid fines. Your employees deserve healthcare coverage year-round without pause, and the law makes it clear that you must provide it to them.
Now, wanting to offer maximum benefits to employees and being able to afford quality healthcare coverage are two different stories. Many small businesses are outsourcing previous in-house positions or attempting to drop employees' work hours so they have fewer employees and therefore can exempt themselves from ACA compliance.
Making ACA Compliance Easier
Understanding the ACA is a challenge for businesses and their employees as well. Many will be baffled by the changes and available options. There are commonly issued complaints and questions from newly initiated Obamacare members including:
- Why can I only choose from medical providers who accept my new insurance?
- Why can't I see the same doctor I've been seeing for years?
- Why is there no emergency service coverage?
- Why am I paying so much out of pocket?
- Why are these insurance options so awful?
Most companies do their best to find the happy medium for employees and themselves when it comes to healthcare. Some midsized businesses, for example, are switching to self-funded plans and away from traditional fully funded commercial insurance plans. They pay the employee claims directly.
If ACA compliance efforts become taxing to your human resources department, outsourcing your research for the right insurance options is worth it. You can find experts to do the homework for you so that you are ACA compliant, and less likely to shortchange your employees in the process.
The Right Way to Shop for Insurance
The ACA is spurring companies to offer their employees more benefits. Many enterprises are installing on-site gyms, offering yoga and meditation classes, and commissioning healthy food trucks to show up during lunch breaks. Efforts like these help employees get the relaxation, exercise, and nutrition they need every day, a benefit that will improve their health and lessen their need to rely on health insurance.
These perks, however, do not minimize the need for good health insurance. The ACA affects how employers shop for insurance benefits. The consumer-oriented approach to health insurance makes it seem like more of a retail business than a federal law, and that can make the ACA compliance seem simpler than it is. But there are still boxes to check and hoops to jump through, and attempting to achieve compliance on your own can be daunting.
Is Your Company in Compliance with the ACA?
Educating yourself and your employees about ACA compliance, related tax forms, and healthcare options can be a daunting task to the uninitiated. The Benefits Group is ready to help you find the right vendor to manage the ACA compliance workload for you. From gathering proof of full-time employees to calculating healthcare costs, relying on an expert to help you satisfy compliance requirements – and serve your employees well – is the smart move for any business, small or large.