Top 5 Steps To Take Now

Even if the ACA does not directly affect your business, and you are not required to provide your employees with health insurance, the law still affects your employees as it mandates they obtain personal health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.

The National Restaurant Association has developed a list of steps you can take now to prepare for the new law.

  1. Don’t assume you’re too small to be covered by the employer mandate. Most business operators understand the law requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer “minimum essential coverage” to their full-time employees (and their dependents) or face potential penalties. However, many employers with more than one business entity don’t realize that they might need to consider their employees as one group. That could push you over the 50-FTE threshold.
  2. Consult your tax advisor. If you’re part of business that has multiple entities, contact your tax attorney or accountant to ask about whether you need to combine all employees to figure out whether you’re covered by the employer mandate.
  3. Know your workforce. The new law requires a series of calculations to see whether you’re covered by the law’s employer mandate and if so, which employees must be offered healthcare coverage. How many full-time employees do you have? What are the hours worked by part-time and seasonal employees? Although you are not required to offer benefits to part-time employees, their hours (and those of seasonal employees) are included in the calculation for determining whether you meet the 50-FTE threshold for the employer mandate. The answers to these questions will help you better understand the potential impact of the law on your business.
  4. Consult your insurance broker. Consider whether you should make any changes to your current health plan(s). Your broker will be able to help you determine more options as regulatory agencies release more rules.
  5. Learn what the law will require of employees. The law requires almost all Americans to obtain insurance starting in 2014. Tax penalties for individuals who fail to obtain coverage for 2014 start at $95 a year, or 1 percent of a person’s taxable income, whichever is greater. Employees with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level may qualify for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions to buy coverage on an exchange in their state. If a full-time employee qualifies for premium tax credits to buy a plan on an exchange because the employee can’t get affordable coverage at work, the employer faces potential penalties.

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