Published Date: 02/17/2014
By John Gupton
The US Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) last week issued final regulations implementing the employer responsibility provisions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that take effect in 2015. If covered employers decide not to offer insurance to their employees, they will make an employer shared responsibility payment beginning in 2015 to help offset the costs to taxpayers of their employees getting tax credits through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The final rules issued last week implement the employer shared responsibility provisions of the ACA, under section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code.
Highlights of the rules include addressing a number of questions about how plans can comply with the employer shared responsibility provisions; ensuring that volunteers like firefighters and emergency responders do not count as full-time employees; and phasing in provisions for businesses with 50 to 99 full-time employees and those that offer coverage to most but not yet all of their full-time workers.
How the policy affects employers:
- Small Businesses with fewer than 50 employees (about 96 percent of all employers): Under the Affordable Care Act, companies that have fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide coverage or fill out any forms in 2015, or in any year, under the Affordable Care Act.
- Larger employers with 100 or more employees (about two percent of employers): The overwhelming majority of these companies with 100 or more employees already offer coverage. Today’s rules phase in the percentage of full-time workers that employers need to offer coverage to – from 70 percent in 2015 to 95 percent in 2016 and beyond. Employers in this category that do not meet these standards will make an employer responsibility payment for 2015.
- Employers with 50 to 99 employees (about two percent of employers): Companies with 50 to 99 employees that do not yet provide health insurance to their full-time workers will report on their workers and coverage in 2015 but have until 2016 before any employer responsibility payments could apply.
For more information on the final rules, go to http://j.mp/aca-15.