Though the Affordable Care Act has been in effect for close to two years now, it’s going to fully kick in for small businesses on January 1st, 2016. This means that any business with 50 or more full-time employees must offer a healthcare plan to eligible employees and dependents. Of course it’s a good thing for all workers to receive healthcare through their employers, but there are some things you should be aware of.
Employers need to know which of their employees are full-time, what plans will work, and perhaps begin offering incentives for wellness to reduce reliance on healthcare, which can rack up costs for the employer. Most importantly, employers need to comply with new laws by documenting everything and notifying your employees about any changes.
Make sure you know if you’re an applicable large employer. You will need to report the details of your 2015 coverage to the IRS at the beginning of next year, which means you will also need to report the specifics of the coverage. Know which employees are full-time, part-time, and everybody in between. The IRS considers employees who work a minimum of 30 hours per week to be full-time.
Inc offers this tip: “Generally speaking, you calculate full-time equivalents by adding up the hours of your part time employees and dividing by 120, according to the IRS. For example, per the IRS, a business may have 40 full time employees and 12 part-time workers, and still come in under the requirement if the 12 staffers don’t log more than 60 hours per month.” This kind of stuff can be confusing if you’ve never done it before, so it would behoove you to start early and get your questions answered.
Let your employees know of any upcoming changes to their benefits. Educate them about their options. Deductibles will likely rise, so be on the watch for that. Keep documents of absolutely everything for the preceding 12 months. Maternity or military leave, jury duty—all of it. There could be serious consequences for getting your forms wrong. Start now!