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Obamacare Mandate for Medium Sized Employers Delayed Until 2016

February 11 - Posted at 2:48 PM Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Obama administration is giving certain employers extra time before they must offer health insurance to almost all of their full time workers.

Under new rules announced Monday by Treasury Department officials, employers with 50 to 99 workers will be given until 2016 (two years longer than originally envisioned under the Affordable Care Act) before they risk a federal penalty for not complying.

Companies with 100+ workers or more are getting a different kind of one-year grace period. Instead of being required in 2015 to offer coverage to 95% of full time workers, these bigger employers can now avoid a fine by offering insurance to at least 70% of workers next year.

Administration officials had already announced in July 2013 that the employer requirements would be postponed until 2015 and this recent announcement has caught officials by surprise.

Obama administration officials said the Treasury Department decided to allow medium-size businesses more latitude because “they need a little more time to adjust to providing coverage”.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) states that anyone who works 30 hours or more is a full time employee, and it compels many employers to offer affordable insurance to those workers and their dependents. (Please note that Florida law currently defines a full time worker as anyone who works 25 or more hours). It also defines affordable as premiums of no more than 9.5% of an employee’s income, and employers must pay for the equivalent of 60% of the actuarial value of a worker’s coverage. Businesses that fail to do so will eventually face a fine of up to $2000 for each employee not offered coverage, though workers are not required to sign up for the benefits.

For questions on how these recent changes will affect your business or for help complying with the ever-changing ACA requirements, please contact our office.

Delays with the SHOP Exchange

April 05 - Posted at 2:01 PM Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Released 4/2/13, the Obama Administration is delaying a key portion of the federally-run SHOP Marketplace, in which small businesses can offer a choice of health plans to their employees through the public marketplace. As a result, small businesses will be limited to offering a single plan through the federally-run SHOP Marketplace until 2015.


The multi-place choice option was supposed to become available to small employers via the federally-run SHOP Marketplace in January 2014. But administration officials said they would delay it until 2015 in the 33 states where the federal government will be running the SHOP insurance marketplaces.


Many feel this delay will “prolong and exacerbate healthcare costs that are crippling 29 million small businesses” according to a recent NY Times article.


What is the SHOP Marketplace?


As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states are required to provide a Group Market Health Insurance Exchange for businesses (called the Small Business Health Options Program or “SHOP”). The SHOP Marketplace is essentially a public group health insurance exchange that will be available for small businesses starting January 1, 2014. The new program was designed to simplify the process of finding health insurance for small businesses and applying any applicable tax credits that an individual may qualify for.


As with the individual health insurance marketplace, all states have three options for offering a SHOP marketplace: (1) create their own state-run marketplace, (2) join a federal-state partnership, or (3) default to the federally-run SHOP marketplace. As mentioned above, 33 states are expected to default to the federally-run marketplace.


Initially, the SHOP marketplaces are for businesses with up to 100 employees. However, states can limit participation to businesses with up to 50 employees until 2016, so eligibility will ultimately vary from state to state.

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