The Computer Merchant, Ltd. (Frank Anigbo)
In this article about the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare, if you prefer), I will focus on the Employer Mandate that affects employers with 50 or more employees, referred to as ALEs (Applicable Large Employer).
With more than 15,000 pages of rules and 45,000 pages of guidance, the ACA is fairly complex in its details. And the law, along with the rules that govern compliance, is still evolving.
A simplification of the law that can trip up ALE-size businesses states that these companies (with 50-plus employees) must offer affordable health insurance coverage to at least 95% of its fulltime employees and their dependents up to age 26 by 2016, or face significant penalties.
The law defines a fulltime employee as one who works an average of 30 hours or more per week. At the same time, this average of hours worked per week must be determined over a set number of months, looking back periodically from a given point in time. Also, the offer of coverage must provide health insurance that is affordable to each employee based on their income, and provide minimum coverage.
Confused? You are not alone.
The Penalties for Non Compliance
For employers, the complexity lies in accurately and consistently determining who exactly to offer coverage, when to make the offer and what plan provides minimum essential coverage for specific employees. The penalty for getting it wrong can be quite costly — $2,000 per employee not offered insurance, and as much as $3,000 per employee who was offered an unaffordable plan.
How to Avoid Penalties
You can avoid (or greatly minimize) all of the unpleasantness associated with the ACA employer mandate by utilizing temporary employees from an agency with experience in IT staffing for the government or your particular industry. Since these are employees of the staffing agency, the agency carries the burden of providing affordable coverage as mandated by the healthcare act. Your company gets all the benefits of the skilled workers it needs without the risk of non-compliance and the penalties that go with it.
At The Computer Merchant, Ltd., an IT staffing agency, we help our clients focus on their core business by providing and managing their workforce needs.