5 Things an Employer Can Do to Prepare for Obamacare
As employers, we bear many of the greatest burdens put in place by the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. In addition to my law practice, I am a small business person, so I am deeply involved in all aspects of the ACA.
As employers, we have a mandate to offer health coverage, and penalties if we do not offer health insurance. We have mandated benefits to go with the mandated coverage, and additional penalties if those benefits are not provided. We are now expected to monitor our employee’s hours and offer health coverage according to a timetable.
Worse, we can accomplish all of that - and still be hit with penalties! Yes, even if we offer coverage, provide the benefits, and act in a timely manner, a penalty is possible if the coverage we offered was not “affordable.”
In addition to this, we are being challenged to redefine our businesses as “small” or “large,” and do it based on a relatively modest base of 50 full-time employees or less.
Here are some articles that may help clarify some of these issues:
In “The Long and Short of Obamacare for Small Employers,” I trace the definition of “small” employer from standard usage for a generation and the new definition under the ACA.
“Whistleblowers, INC” speaks to the unlikely fact that under the ACA, millions of American workers will become eligible to become the most protected class of employees in history – Federal Whistleblowers – just by getting health insurance through an Exchange while receiving a subsidy.
What You Can Do to Prepare for Obamacare
1. Devise a Strategic Plan and an Implementation Plan. Get buy-in from your team and make sure you know who is responsible for executing the plan.
2. Find the right advisors. All advisors are not created equal. Find professionals who have studied the law and are aware of best practices.
3. Educate yourself and your employees. The law is confusing and it is changing frequently. Be sure that your organization is equipped with the most up-to-date information. Share best practices with other business owners.
4. Begin communicating with your employees about what is ahead. If you are going to change policies (i.e. become a part-time employer) be sure to consult with an employment attorney or HR specialist so you can avoid creating liability for yourself.
5. Start brainstorming and planning with your insurance broker on pricing and planning strategies.