Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’

Healthcare Reforms are Coming – Here are the Action Steps Employers need to Take Now

December 10, 2012

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) stands to reform America’s healthcare system significantly, and business owners across the board are struggling to understand what the changes will mean for them. Some feel that the PPACA impacts the restaurant industry more than most due to high numbers of part-time and low-wage employees in the sector.

Although the PPACA does not fully take effect until 2014, reporting requirements begin coming in to play at the end of 2012. As an employer, it’s important that you take action now to ensure conformation to those requirements as well as to clearly understand how the PPACA will affect your business.

Required Healthcare Reporting for the 2012 Tax Season

The main thrust of the healthcare act is that employers with more than 50 full time employees will be required to offer them affordable health care insurance or pay a per employee penalty for avoidance. This insurance must also meet a ‘minimum value standard.’ How that minimum standard is determined and whether or not your business’ health care plan meets that standard is still in deliberation by the administration.

Starting at the time of filing for the 2012 tax year, employers who file more than 250 W-2 forms each year, and currently offer health care plans, must report the value of their employees’ health care benefits on their W-2 forms. Health care benefit reporting on W-2 forms is optional for smaller businesses until the 2013 tax year. The data gathered is for informational purposes only – employees will not be taxed on the value.

All Employers must Inform Employees of Their Exchange Options by March, 2013

The law mandates that all states open insurance exchanges wherein individuals and small groups can purchase ‘essential health benefits’ by 2014. The idea is to create a competitive marketplace where a variety of plans are offered by a variety of private insurance companies, allowing an individual to select the plan which suits them best.

As of March 1st , 2013, all employers are going to be required to inform their employees and new hires about the insurance exchange in their state, as well as provide them with the information they need to access it. The current proposal is that this notification would have to include information such as the employer identification number and the calculated employee contribution for the lowest-cost plan available. The government is ironing out the last details of this requirement and guidance will be issued to employers about how to conform.

Understand how the Healthcare Act will Affect Your Business Now and Save Headaches Later

The healthcare law has different impacts and requirements for different classes of business and it’s important to understand how your business is going to be affected so that you can prepare properly. The documents are complicated and there are going to be additional costs that will need to be managed. You need good legal advice, savvy insurance consultants, and long discussions with your tax adviser to help you navigate these new requirements most successfully.

Many restaurant companies are still unclear exactly how this health care law may impact them so getting this early analysis can be critical. Doing so not only ensures that you navigate the new requirements successfully, but also that you do right by your employees while still making sound business decisions.