The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as PPACA, and shortened to the ACA, was enacted in March of 2010. Since then, parts of the bill have been implemented, changed, deleted and postponed. So, in other words, there are a lot of moving parts. It is possibly the largest change in the healthcare delivery system in history. This has caused uncertainty and anxiety in the minds of employers and employees. Columbia Benefit Solutions keep our clients up to date with the changes and its affects to help you develop both short-term and long-range plans.

There are many requirements for employers, but here are the basics:

Small Employers are defined as companies with 2-50 full-time equivalent employees (FTE). Companies with 50 or less FTEs are not required to offer a group health plan to employees and therefore not subject to the "shared responsibility" penalty. Beginning with 2014 contracts, those employers who do offer benefits will need to comply with the actuarial value requirements that may be structured as a single plan, or as a defined contribution plan.

Large Employers are defined as employers with 51 or more FTEs. Beginning with 2014 contracts, you will need to comply with the minimum value requirements and the affordability requirements of the ACA. However, for employer groups of 51 - 100 FTE's, the "shared responsibility" requirement was postponed until January 1, 2016. Employer groups of 101 fulltime equivalent employees or more, will be required to comply with the "shared responsibility" provision by January 1, 2015.

The penalty for non-compliance is $2,000 per employee/year for no coverage (disregarding the first 30 employees) or a penalty of $3,000/employee/year for subsidized coverage.

Other ACA features are:

• W-2 reporting of the aggregate cost of health care premiums (for employer groups who issue 250 or more W2's per year)
• Summary of benefits and coverage
• Adjustment to probationary period
• Employer notification requirements relative to the Exchange
• The impact of individual premium and cost-sharing subsidies for your employees
• Additional fees built into premium
• Medical loss ratio rebates

All employers will need to create a plan, or restructure your current plan, that is customized to your needs to comply with the ACA. We can guide you in finding solutions that meet your goals.