Key Dates & Implementation Timeline
The following is a list of important dates to be aware of regarding mandates and requirements for the ACA.
July 1, 2013 – Start of the (minimum) measurement period for determining part time employee status.
Prior to October 2013 – All employers (regardless of size) will need to provide notification of exchanges to employees.
October 1, 2013 – Oregon’s health insurance exchange will be open to enroll people for a January 1, 2014 coverage effective date.
January 1, 2014 – All individuals (with a few exceptions) will be required to have "Minimum Essential Coverage" or be subject to penalties.
January 1, 2014 – All large employers will be subject to a penalty for not providing coverage or for providing coverage that doesn’t meet minimum value or affordability.
Notification to Employees
At a date yet to be announced (but expected before October 1, 2013), employers must inform all current employees and any new hires after this date about the existence of the exchange and how employees can access it. The Labor Department has indicated it will issue guidance and a template about how the information must be provided.
Flexible Spending Accounts Limited
Beginning in 2013, employees' contributions to flexible spending accounts are limited to $2,500.
Exchange open enrollment
Beginning October 1, 2013, individuals will be able to enroll in coverage purchased on the exchanges for plans beginning January 1, 2014.
Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalents must offer “minimum essential coverage” to all employees who average 30 or more hours a week in a given month, or potentially be liable for penalties. The Department of Treasury determines how the calculations are made, how often, and how penalties are assessed.
Employers with 200 or more full-time employees must automatically enroll their full-time employees into one of the plans the employer offers after the applicable waiting period. The Department of Labor has concluded that its automatic-enrollment guidance on this section of the law (Section 18A of the Fair Labor Standards Act) will not be ready to take effect by 2014. The DOL says employers will not be required to comply until final regulations are issued and become applicable.
90-Day Waiting Period
All group health plans are allowed up to a 90-day waiting period before offering coverage. The IRS in August 2012 offered preliminary guidance on implementation of the 90-day rule, but has not yet provided a proposed regulation on the 90-day waiting period.
The law requires most individuals to obtain basic health insurance coverage, through their employers, state exchanges, Medicaid/Medicare, or elsewhere, or face an annual tax penalty. In 2014, the tax penalty will be $95 for not obtaining minimum coverage.