3 Things You May Have Missed about the Affordable Care Act

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The Affordable Care Act is 974 pages long. Assuming you read all 974 pages, it is likely that you would still find aspects of the law a little fuzzy. As we prepare for Jan. 1, 2014, there are several provisions that require clarification in regards to how their implementation will impact employers and individuals. Here are three things you may have missed about the law:

1. Employer Shared Responsibility Provision

You probably know that if you have 50 or more full time equivalent (FTE) employees, you must offer health coverage. (What’s an FTE?)

Here’s what you may not have considered. The 50 or more FTEs mandates coverage, but that does not mean you have to offer part time employees health benefits. A full time employee, however, is defined by the law as an employee that works 30 hours per week. For some employers, this means that more employees will be eligible for coverage.

2. Taxes and fees are effective Jan. 1, 2014

Taxes and fees of Health Care Reform that will impact you or your business include: Comparative Effectiveness Fee, Federal Insurance Premium Tax, Reinsurance Fee, High Cost Health Plan, Marketplace Fees (Fully Insured Only) and Risk Adjustment Fee. Find out more about these taxes and fees here. Here’s what you may not have considered: These taxes and fees are effective Jan. 1, 2014, even if you renew your plan prior to the first of the year.

3. New hire waiting periods

The ACA has implemented a 90-day waiting period limitation on group health plans. A waiting period is “designed as the period that must pass with respect to an individual before the individual is eligible to be covered for benefits under the terms of the plan.”

This applies to grandfathered and non-grandfathered group health plans and insurance coverage for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014. If you’re not sure if your plan year and renewal year are aligned, you may want to check with your insurance carrier or benefits consultant.

* http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/90dayreg.pdf
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