Since its passage a few years ago, Obamacare has been one of the most sweeping legislative changes to affect small business in decades. In an effort to keep our clients apprised of the current state of this mandate, following are 15 of the top changes that small businesses need to be aware of:
1. On April 14, 2011, Congress repealed the 1099 mandate that required businesses to report transactions totaling at least $600 in a year paid to all businesses for goods and services. As a result, businesses are now only required to report payments to unincorporated businesses for such services.
2. On January 1, 2012, the administration instituted a one-year delay on the employer requirement of reporting the full cost of employer-provided health insurance on W-2s.
3. On February 7, 2013, the administration delayed the implementation of the Basic Health Program. This program, designed to provide more affordable health coverage for low-income individuals not eligible for Medicaid, must now be adopted by 2015.
4. On February 20, 2013, the administration made it possible for group health plans that use more than one benefits administrator (e.g. one for doctor/hospital and one for prescription drugs) to apply separate annual patient cost-sharing limits (effectively doubling originally intended maximum out-of-pocket costs).
5. On March 11, 2013, the administration delayed the mandate for SHOP exchanges (Small-Employer Health Option Program) until 2015, thus allowing for another year for federal exchanges to prepare to offer qualified health plans to small businesses. The online marketplace for SHOP will now launch in November 2014.
6. On July 2, 2013, the administration delayed the employer reporting requirements for one year.
7. On October 23, 2013, the administration pushed back the deadline for individuals to purchase insurance to March 31, 2014. Any individuals not purchasing insurance by that extended deadline now face a tax penalty.
8. On November 14, 2013, the administration reversed a previous ruling that allowed insurance companies to reoffer plans previous regulations had forced them to cancel.
9. On December 2, 2013, the administration provided an exemption for unions that allowed them to avoid reinsurance fees, instead passing these fees onto non-exempt plans and consumers and likely causing higher premiums and deductibles.
10. On December 12, 2013 (and again in January and March 2014), the administration extended the federal high risk pool to prevent a coverage gap for the most vulnerable individuals, ultimately settling on a date of April 30, 2014. These changes were the result of challenges experienced by individuals trying to sign up for new coverage on the healthcare.gov website.
11. On March 5, 2014, the administration extended the hardship waiver to October 1, 2016, allowing individuals who have had their plans cancelled as a result of ObamaCare regulations exclusion from the individual mandate and the option to purchase catastrophic health insurance.
12. On January 18, 2014, the administration announced that tax officials wouldn’t be enforcing the 2014 mandate that employers offer equal coverage to all employees because the IRS hasn’t officially issued regulations for employers to follow.
13. On February 10, 2014, the administration again announced a year extension for enforcement of the requirement that medium to large companies provide insurance. Businesses with more than 100 employees must now offer coverage to 70% of full-time employees by 2015 and 95% of full-time employees by 2016.
14. On February 27, 2014, the administration announced that subsidies were being extended to individuals who purchased health insurance outside of federal or state exchanges.
15. On March 5, 2014, the administration delayed the requirement of compliance for health plans until 2017, allowing an addition 2 years for these insurers to offer these non-compliant policies and providing more time for the creation/alteration of compliant plans.
While there have literally been dozens of other changes, additions and retractions over the course of this legislation, these are the top changes that we’ve been tracking, each specifically affecting employers and their employees. If you have any questions about how these or future changes will affect your business operations and/or accounting/bookkeeping functions, contact Lescault and Walderman for a free consultation at 866-496-2042.