Posted September 6, 2012
Have you had a deadline on a project, but had to wait for more information before tackling the work? That’s the situation American businesses have faced the past two years as they have waited for clarification of mandates for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known as ACA for short). But with the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the law on June 28, 2012, businesses now should be working on plans to meet ACA provisions.
A poll conducted after the high court’s decision by Mercer, a human resource consulting company, discovered that only 40 percent of the businesses surveyed stated they planned to start developing plans to respond to ACA directives, while an additional 16 percent indicated they would wait until after the November 2012 national elections.
New Reform Requirements for 2012-2013
During the next 16 months, employers are required to meet several mandates:
- September – December, 2012
- Provide summaries of benefits and coverages to employees for open enrollment periods starting after September 22, 2012
- Communicate with employees the value of their benefits in 2012 W-2 forms
- January – December, 2013
- Follow new limits for employees’ health care flexible spending accounts (FSAs) – capped at $2,500 annually
- Increase Medicare withholdings for high earners: by 0.9 percent (from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent) on wages over $200,000 for single filers, wages over $250,000 for joint filers, and wages over $125,000 for persons who are married but file separately
- Pay Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund fees before July 31, 2013
- Provide employees with written notification of the availability of health care exchanges after March 1, 2013
- Develop a strategy for fulfilling additional reform mandates that begin in 2014
The ACA mandates reinforce the value of employer-sponsored wellness programs designed with measurable results. These programs encourage employees to make lifestyle changes so they are more healthy and productive, and experience fewer medical concerns.
Read more about the ACA mandates for employers in articles produced by the Society for Human Resource Management:
What is your business doing to develop a strategic plan to meet ACA mandates?