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5 Essential Employer Deadlines for Obamacare

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Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

You may have heard about this little thing called Obamacare that’s headed our way. It’s made up of about 1200 pages of law, will affect millions of people and is estimated to raise costs for employees by as much as 73 percent. So really, this is clearly minor, unless you are an employer, an employee or oh, an American.

In a survey of 4000 employers conducted by PayScale in December, companies of all sizes reported little concern about Obamacare. They all told roughly the same story, with about 75% expecting no changes in their staffing plans due to the implementation of federal healthcare law, 7% planning to cut back hours, and 14% saying they will hire fewer workers in 2013.

But should companies be more concerned? What does the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, mean and what do you need to worry about? Obamacare will essentially reform healthcare, improve access to affordable health coverage and work to guard consumers from being taken advantage of by insurance companies. When signed into law in 2010, the legislature set up deadlines that span from 2010 to 2015 in an attempt to give everyone, including employers, plenty of time to be in compliance with the new law. Check out these five deadlines that every employer needs to know about.
  1. Oct. 1, 2013: Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace begins 
    What it means: Individuals and small businesses can find coverage under the new act beginning Oct. 1. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) in the Health Insurance Marketplace is designed especially for small businesses needing assistance with finding coverage.
  2. Jan. 1, 2014: Employers required to report full time equivalent (FTE) numbers to the Secretary of the Treasury 
    What it means: Every business will need to determine how many employees they have that qualify as FTE employees under the ACA and report that number. If your business has fewer than 50 FTE employees, you aren’t required by law to provide coverage.
  3. Jan. 1, 2014: Small business health insurance tax credits will increase
    What it means: The ACA will implement the second phase of the tax credits established for qualified small businesses and small non-profit organizations. On Jan. 1, 2014, the credit will be increased to up to 50 percent of an employer’s contribution and up to 35 percent of a non-profit’s contributions.
  4. July 31, 2014: Companies must pay 2013 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) taxes to the federal government 
    What it means: The ACA established a PCORI, a private, non-profit entity that will lead clinical trials and research methods. The Institute is to be funded through a trust fund largely made up of tax dollars. There will be an annual $2 fee per-covered-life assessed on private health plans. The first of these new, annual fees will be due July 31.
  5. Dec. 31, 2014: Companies must pay 2014 Transitional Reinsurance Program (TRP) taxes to the federal government 
    What it means: The TRP, set up as part of Obamacare, will help stabilize premiums in the private market in the first three years of the operating the Exchange. All self-insured group health plans, their third-party administrators and all health insurance issuers will pay taxes that will cover individuals with high medical costs. According to healthcare.gov, “Reinsurance contributions will be based on a national per capita contribution rate, which HHS will announce in the annual HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters. Under this program, reinsurance payments are similar to traditional, commercial reinsurance. Payments will be based on a portion of costs per enrollee paid once claims costs reach a certain level (attachment point) and until a payment limit (cap) is reached.”

It may seem like the next year is plenty of time to be in compliance with the new law, but time will fly! Start gathering EFT documentation, calculating your TRP and PCORI taxes and informing employees of the coming changes. When those deadlines hit, you’ll be glad you took care of these things along the way! 

 

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11 Comments

  1. 11 Jason R 24 Apr

    Oh Jill, I don't know what industry you work in but I know it is not insurance. Adding more participants does not lower costs. Lowering claims lowers costs. Period. Guess who wants coverage under the Act? Yep, those people with major health issues.

    Costs are going to skyrocket (already are if you look at the early data). Why? Because the people just think that "someone else" will pay for their care...and someone else is, you and me. Are you more careful with your bank account or your neighbors? I rest my case.

    If you think doctors have it so great, go be one yourself. Oh yeah, that's right. Most folks don't have the intelligence, drive or ambition to earn a medical degree. Now there's a conundrum.

  2. 10 Jill R 24 Apr
    I agree with Kelly R (and Lisa). It could have and should have been listed w/ it's true name (PPACA) and then the "also known as ..." I was actually upset by the first paragraph entirely when it said, "So really, this is clearly minor, unless you are an employer, an employee or oh, an American." Nor did it need to be such a snarking tone. We need to insure our people and ultimately costs will begin to go down, if peope would grow up and stop being so damn greedy. There was a day that doctors made housecalls and did extras b/c they were truly concerned for people's well being. All many do now is complain that they can't maintain their lifestyle. Give me break! America is going to the toilet and it's not b/c of PPACA, it's called GREED.
  3. 9 K. West 24 Apr

    When did so many Americans become overly sensitive to everything?  Is the term "Obamacare" truly more offensive than the impact the legislation has on employers and employees?  People seem to get so upset about the words being used that they lose site of the substance and meaning behind them.

    This article is written in plain language that is easily understood and can be read in less than a couple minutes -- just opposite of the 20,000 written pages in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare".  Has anybody really even read it?

  4. 8 Wes G 24 Apr

    Why is it so reprehensible to use a well-known term for the healthcare legislation? There's nothing unprofessional here. This isn't the Wall Street Journal or USA Today reporting to the uninformed. Rest assured people here already know what legislation is being referenced. Clearly the tone of the article is meant to be a little loose, attention-grabbing, engaging and interesting. Any defense of the legislation insinuates you might be a little embarrassed about it... which frankly you should be, considering that portion of the article dedicated to explaining the increased costs associated with the "affordable health care act.

  5. 7 Cora Lea Gaither 24 Apr
    Calling it Obamacare (which even Congress calls it) is no more demeaning than what this administration is doing to the American businesses by adding more burden each year, particicularly the medical industry.  Our costs keep increasing and they keep decreasing our revenue payments.  Call it what you may, it is around to stay evidently and still stinks.
  6. 6 lisa 24 Apr
    Unsubscribing now.  I expected unbiased HR news not hand wringing sensationalism!
  7. 5 Rich M. 24 Apr
    How about calling it what it truly is: "Abmoniable care?"
  8. 4 Marci 24 Apr
    WOW. Unbelievably unproffessional. What would you nickname the ADA? I don't want to know your political views but there they are for the world to see. Hmmmm.
  9. 3 Daryl LaCombe 24 Apr
    Kelly expressed the same feeling I had when reading this article.   I would prefer to hear the facts and skip the snarking, editorial comments which downgraded the article in my opinion.  I don't really care how the author feels about the Affordable Care Act and it gave me an overall negative impression of this website.
  10. 2 jim g 24 Apr

    omg, Kelly ...grow up...it has been Obama care on every news and talk show.  You must be an HR person, more worried about being politically correct than the substance of your job.

  11. 1 Kelly R 24 Apr
    I thought this was a legit website. Now I question that. "Obamacare"? Really?
    I know that's the "popular" term, but considering it's used mostly by opponents to demonize it, it seems like your article is snarking from the very beginning.
    It would have been totally fine to say "Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare" and then refer to it as "ACA" or "healthcare reform" throughout the rest of the article. Instead, you went with the unprofessional which calls the ENTIRE article into question.
    Yes, I realize that use of the term "Obamacare" has just recently started to make it's way to the supporters, but it's still a colloquial term with many negative conotations that should only be referred to as reference.
    Heck, you don't even use the full title of the act (PPACA).

    As for the rest of the article, some good info, but still some issues and it goes back to the attitude of the writer. It just doesn't belong in a piece like this and cuts the integrity of the piece.
    It's here. We have to deal with it. What's the point in still making us angry about it?

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