Health Care Reform: Five Top Employer Concerns

By Tabatha George, © Fisher & Phillips LLP May 12, 2014

Keeping up with changes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a challenge for all employers. Here are the top five issues to keep on your radar:

The employer mandate. Under the ACA, large employers will be required to provide affordable health care insurance that meets minimum value to all full-time employees beginning in 2015. Final regulations issued in February 2014 clarify most aspects of how the mandate will be implemented.

The individual mandate. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, all individuals are required to carry qualified health insurance known as “minimum essential coverage” or face penalties when they file taxes in the spring of 2015. In 2014, the penalty for noncompliance will be the greater of $95 per uninsured person or 1 percent of household income over the filing threshold. This penalty will rise in 2015 and again in 2016.

Wellness programs. As health insurance costs rise, wellness programs are gaining popularity, but be cautious when designing and maintaining these benefits because they must conform to new ACA requirements and existing HIPAA nondiscrimination requirements.

Reporting requirements. Beginning in the spring of 2016, large employers will face new reporting requirements for the 2015 calendar year. The Form 6056 will ask for information including:

  • Contact information for the employer.
  • The number of full-time employees.
  • For each full-time employee, information about the coverage (if any) offered to the employee, by month, including the lowest employee cost of self-only coverage offered.

Automatic enrollment and nondiscrimination regulations. Though enforcement of the automatic enrollment and nondiscrimination provisions of the ACA has not started, keep an eye out for regulations that will trigger compliance obligations:

Tabatha Georgeis an associate in the New Orleans office of law firmFisher & Phillips LLP. Hyperlinks in this article were added by SHRM editors. © 2014 Fisher & Phillips LLP. Republished with permission. All right reserved.

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