Posted March 21, 2016
The Affordable Care Act was implemented six years ago. At first, large employers were stressed about keeping up with ACA changes, meeting requirements and managing costs.
Due to several delays in the implementation of regulations, many large employers now are focused on other business issues and plan to adjust benefits as new ACA regulations are introduced.
Here are three things large employers can do now:
1. Know reporting requirements – According to BenefitsPro, employers find three areas of ACA law the most confusing:
- Annual IRS reporting – 49 percent (learn about reporting challenges)
- Exchange notices – 62 percent
- ACA penalties – 60 percent
Insurance requirements. In 2015, large employers were required to offer insurance to only 70 percent of full-time workers, but in 2016 the number increased to 95 percent.
Tracking employees’ hours. Employers may not be aware that they need to track employees’ work hours. This requirement applies to all employers with 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees. According to Smart Business, in 2016 employers need to make a reasonable effort to track and report this information. Beginning in 2017, the Internal Revenue Service will monitor reporting more closely.
Employers should work with insurance sales reps and broker-consultants to discover the latest on benefits changes and communication requirements. While medical insurance can be confusing, ancillary benefits, such as dental, vision and hearing plans, are much easier to understand.
2. Engage employees as consumers – Many employees want to choose the benefits plans that best fit their needs. As consumers, they want to know the cost of services, and expect to receive a certain level of service for their investment. They rely on employers to explain benefits and help them understand plan features. Many employers struggle to find time to create an effective benefits communication strategy. But to keep employees invested in their work, it’s essential to educate employees on benefits choices and provide reminders throughout the year on how to use their coverage options effectively. Review tips on simplifying benefits communication.
3. Plan for Cadillac tax – The ACA Cadillac tax was scheduled for implementation in 2018, but has been deferred until 2020. This is a 40 percent tax on health insurance plans costing more than $27,500 for family coverage, or $10,200 for individual employees. To handle this tax, some employers will include a lower- quality health insurance plan in employee benefits packages. Others plan to shift more of the cost for insurance to employees through higher deductibles, copays and contributions.