Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ACA For Small Business Owners: What To Do Before October 1st, 2013?

Pic Courtesy: Google Images
 The New Health Insurance Marketplace opens October 1st, 2013. This "Marketplace" is a website or a one-stop shopping place per the Dept of Labor, where you can go to find health coverage if you don't have coverage presently or you want to look for better options. 

An online application kick starts the process and you can see all the available plans in your area from which you can pick & choose. Open enrollment for coverage through this marketplace begins October 1st, 2013 for the year 2014. 

As business owners, we need to understand how this will affect us. There are so many misconceptions out there, laws have been revised so many times, keeping track of it all has been like hugging jello! This is the latest revised version. 

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Technical Release # 2013-02 in May, 2013 providing guidance on the notices to be issued to employees of available coverage options. According to the guidance, employers to whom the FSLA* applies,  

  • are required to provide a notice to each new employee at the time of hiring beginning October 1, 2013. 
  • With respect to employees who are current employees before October 1, 2013,
    Pic Courtesy: dol.gov
    employers are required to provide the notice not later than October 1, 2013. 
  • The notice is required to be provided automatically, free of charge.
  • The notice must be provided in writing in a manner calculated to be understood by the average employee. 
  • It may be provided by first-class mail. 
  • Alternatively, it may be provided electronically if the requirements of the DOL’s electronic disclosure safe harbor at 29 CFR 2520.104b-1(c) are met.
  • For 2014, the DOL will consider a notice to be provided at the time of hiring if the notice is provided within 14 days of an employee's start date. 
The notice should inform employees: 
  • About the Health Insurance Marketplace;
  • Coverage (if any) offered by the employer and that the employees may purchase lower cost insurance in the marketplace
  • If the employees buy insurance through this marketplace, they may lose the employer contribution (if any) to their health benefits

The U. S. Department of Labor has model notices to be sent out by employers who:



The latest release by the DOL clarifies that an employer cannot be fined for failing to provide employees with notices about the Affordable Care Act's new Health Insurance Marketplace.


*The FSLA, short for Fair Labor Standards Act, Section 18B is applicable to an employer if they pass the test of not less than $500,000 in annual dollar volume of business. If you are in doubt, you can use this tool to check if you have to comply.


Bibliography:

  1. U.S. Department of Labor Technical Release 2013-02
  2. sba.gov: Health Care Pulse
  3. healthcare.gov: Marketplace
  4. Compliance Assistance Tool


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Please read my disclaimer here. Please consult a tax professional for your unique situation. 
For any questions regarding this or other tax matters, please contact me via Email: manasa@mntaxsolutionsllc.com.