4 days and counting… Are you ready for the first Affordable Care Act deadline? If you are like most business owners you are stunned that there is looming deadline that applies to you. Yes, you. Even if you don’t have 50 employees, even if you have less than 25 employees, in fact according to Healthcare.gov the October 1st deadline applies to you even if you have only 1 employee!
I don’t mean to belabor the point, but since there has been so much changing information surrounding the Affordable Healthcare Act people tend to dismiss the noise and they may miss an important mandate that affects them.
On October 1st a couple of important things are happening with healthcare reform. The first is a requirement for all small businesses that employ one person or more to notify their employee/s by an acceptable form (only clear form listed is by US mail thus far) of their rights with the Affordable Healthcare Act. According to Healthcare.gov you have three main responsibilities to notify (1) all new hires within 14 days of employment, and (2) each of your existing employees by First Class mail by October 1st, 2013:
1. Notify of the SHOP Marketplace contact Information
2. Notify Employee that they may be eligible for a tax credit
3. Notify Employees that they may lose employer coverage, and that employer paid coverage may be a non-taxable benefit if they choose to purchase through your states exchange.
To help you with this mandated reporting the department of labor has created some sample letters that you may use in lieu of creating your own. Just download these samples, fill out for one for each of your staff and mail it to them. A Model letter for employers who do not offer a health plan http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf , and a Model letter for Employers who offer some form of health insurance http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf .
Small Business owners everywhere are finding the whole Healthcare reform law to be very complex, and all of the information is still not available to be seen. That is actually some of the good news October 1st brings since that is the day that SHOP is open to small business owners to begin viewing what actual providers, plans and prices are available.
The opening of SHOP and the employee notification is just the tip of the iceberg of change that will be coming our way in the next 18-24 months. Tax credits, penalties, changes in coverage, change in healthcare expenses, are all expected. I can’t wait for October 1st to be able to get into SHOP and start crunching some numbers and see financially how this new act will affect you all. Stay tuned for updates coming.