Prepare Now for Healthcare Mandate
Nexus Staff Urges Small Businesses to Gather Data Now for Obamacare 2016 Deadline
Companies with 50 to 99 employees will fall under the federal healthcare mandate starting January 2016, but they should prepare now for their turn at bat with the ACA. Small companies are urged to begin tracking data to help them determine compliance and which employees are entitled to an offer of coverage in 2016.
“The required reporting is detailed,” says Finny Varghese, an expert on the ACA. “Leaving the record keeping to the 11th hour will be too cumbersome for smaller companies. Equally important,” advises Varghese, is that, “advance planning facilitates developing the best ACA strategy.”
Here’s what companies need to do.
Classify workers. Coverage is required for full-time employees, those working 30 or more hours weekly, and full time equivalents. FTEs, in ACA shorthand, are calculated as the number of part-time workers multiplied by the number of hours worked per month divided by 120. Companies may discover their total full-time count falls below the range.
Define standard measurement periods for determining employee classifications. There will be one “look-back” period for ongoing employees and measurement periods for each new hire. Tracking this year provides a beta test for 2016 data and could guide classifications.
Detail each individual receiving coverage under current healthcare policy. This information includes duration of any waiting period, months of eligibility and coverage, premium for lowest cost option for employee-only coverage and whether coverage meets the government standard.
“Going back in time for data would be a huge pain point for companies,” suggests Varghese. “Unfortunately, no magic bullet exists in the form of affordable software that gathers data in one tidy place; nor is the government ready with a form.”
Varghese has run scenarios of what makes fiscal sense for businesses once information is collected. For example, companies in the low-wage sector could opt for penalties in lieu of providing health coverage. But, for firms needing professional skills to prosper, lack of a robust health plan becomes an impediment to landing high-level talent. Varghese, president of Nexus Staff (www.nexusstaff.com) in Floral Park, New York, recently launched a workforce leasing program to recruit and hire talent for clients as Nexus employees with benefits. This option enables entrepreneurial companies to be competitive for workers, afford healthcare versus community-rated insurance and remain focused on core operations.
Distributed on Business Wire. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150203006534/en/Nexus-Staff-Urges-Small-Businesses-Gather-Data#.VNioO8bDFpk