THIS MONTH, we wrap up a five-column series on the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare), the 2010 healthcare insurance law that, whether one likes it or not, has touched or will touch almost everyone in this country in some way. (You can’t even escape a question about health insurance on your tax return.) By even the most conservative count, bureaucrats’ work on detailing the general provisions of the ACA has produced more than 20,000 pages worth of regulations — nearly eight times the length of the original bill. Imagine a tower of paper almost a foot taller than six-foot-six-inch basketball star Kobe Bryant!
As we noted last month, the ACA is ever-changing, with the Obama administration issuing new rules without congressional approval and Congress, now controlled by Republicans, working (at this writing) to repeal the law’s 30-hour workweek provision for mandatory business-offered health insurance.
With 2015 well under way, here are some key things business owners and managers should know about Obamacare:
• For many employers, the new year rang in the ACA employer mandate that was delayed in 2013.
• Businesses that employ more than 100 full-time people now are required to offer government-approved healthcare for at least 70 percent of their employees or face a penalty of $2,000 per employee. Starting in 2016, these businesses must cover 95 percent of their workers.
• Businesses that have 50 to 99 full-time workers won’t have to meet the employer health insurance mandate until next year.
• Businesses that employ fewer than 50 people are exempt from the employer mandate. However, health insurance coverage for employees can be obtained through the SHOP Marketplace, located online at www.healthcare.gov/small-business/employers.
column by BAXTER TROUTMAN
BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Arcadia. A citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.