ACA Employer Shared Responsibility: Round 1

It's that time of year again - the leaves are changing color, the temperature is plunging and chances are your local coffee house is touting pumpkin-flavored everything. Halloween has passed, and Thanksgiving and the winter holidays will soon be upon us. Before you know it, it'll be time to flip the calendar to 2015, which will usher in the first round of the Affordable Care Act's Employer Shared Responsibility reporting requirements amid the promise of the new year.

Simply put, these provisions dictate that if employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees choose not to offer minimum-value affordable healthcare coverage to their workers who qualify they can expect to be hit with financial penalties. While employers with workforces between 50 to 99 employees won’t have to comply with the provisions until 2016, firms with at least 100 full-time equivalent employees have just three months before the new rules go into effect. However, the initial delay of the employer mandate from 2014 to 2015 has given employers time to think about what will work best for their company, both strategically and financially.

The ACA’s individual and employer mandate have created the reality that everyone is eligible for some type of coverage. According to Benefitfocus Director of Marketplaces Shandon Fowler, in an article published by the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism, this has led to the introduction of the “Benefits for the Whole Workforce” concept. Employers are realizing that using a benefits management platform that can connect with the public exchange enables them to direct their employees to the right types of coverage for their specific scenario. A platform with a high level of configurability and connectivity can automate this process by tracking eligibility and enforcing rules to create enrollment scenarios that are tailored to the employee’s needs. Employers can capture and access the data they need to fulfill reporting requirements and employees are empowered to make the best decision for their individual circumstance. It’s a win-win.