Small Firms Could Have Obamacare Responsibilities
Most of the hype about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the healthcare reform law better known as Obamacare, has been surrounding the employer mandate. Employers with 50 or more employees will have to provide affordable health coverage to those employees by 2014.
If you have contractors who are on your payroll, they count towards your total employee count. Many recruiters, even those who employ some contractors, won’t get anywhere near this 50-employee threshold. But that doesn’t mean they are out of the woods when it comes to Obamacare.
There are administrative tasks tied to the ACA, even for the smallest of employers. For example, even if you only have a couple of employees (in-house, contractors, or a combination), you will have to provide those employees with a notice about the healthcare exchange, which has now been dubbed “The Marketplace.”
The Marketplace is supposed to provide individuals with a place where they can compare and select healthcare plans. Depending upon their income, they may qualify for premium tax credits to reduce the cost of the coverage they select.
Any employer who is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is almost EVERY employer, must provide a notice to employees letting them know that the Marketplace will be available starting January 1, 2014.
The notice must let them know what services the Marketplace provides and how to contact it. It must also inform them that they may be eligible for a premium tax credit and that they may lose the employer contribution (if applicable) if they choose to purchase their insurance through the Marketplace. You have to provide this notice even if you do not offer insurance.
On October 1, 2013, employers must begin providing this notice to new employees at the time they are hired. All existing employees must receive the notice by October 1, 2013. For details on how to implement this, the Department of Labor has provided a Technical Release.
Very small firms and companies may have other responsibilities under Obamacare, as well, especially if they offer health insurance. For instance, the health reform law mandates some changes to the COBRA notices employers send to plan participants who lose their coverage. The law also has certain reporting requirements for employers who offer health insurance, regardless of how many people they employ.
For these reasons alone, it’s important that recruiters don’t ignore Obamacare. Be sure that you are aware of your responsibilities based on the number of employees you have, and make sure you educate your smaller clients about these provisions, as well.
Editor’s note: This article is for informational purposes only and should NOT be considered legal advice.
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