The Affordable Care Act remains intact, and so does complexity for small businesses
"We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future."
That was the assessment of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on March 24, after House Republican leadership failed to muster enough support to bring its healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), up for a Congressional floor vote1. Had it become law, the AHCA was expected to overhaul many aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the 2010 law’s Medicaid expansion and individual tax credits for purchasing insurance coverage.2
While federal healthcare policy appears settled for now, so too does complexity for U.S. small businesses when it comes to providing healthcare benefits for their employees. New rules and requirements under the ACA will continue to roll out this year and beyond, as planned. The AHCA’s recent failure also increases the likelihood that smaller legislative and regulatory change could emerge later in the year, as the GOP-led Congress and White House shift strategy to make good on 2016 campaign promises to remake the U.S. healthcare system.
ACA rollout continues
U.S. employers this year are required to comply with a variety of ACA-related federal regulations that were already on the books prior to the AHCA debate. One such rule involves workplace wellness programs, which allow employers to substantially discount insurance premiums if employees reach certain healthy lifestyle milestones.3 New federal rules that went into effect on January 1 tighten employee privacy protections and inducement rules when implementing these programs, as well as provide further guidance to employers on how health-related information gathered through these programs can be used.4
Another ACA-related 2017 compliance measure involves how a health plan’s details are documented, including “what it covers and the cost sharing responsibility of the consumer, in order to help individuals make more informed choices among health plan options and better understand their coverage. Plans and issuers are also required to provide a comprehensive uniform glossary of commonly used health coverage and medical terms.”5 As of April 1, all health plans must use this updated Summary of Benefits and Coverage documentation developed jointly by the U.S. Depts. of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury.6
How Questco can help
With unparalleled service and value, Questco helps small business owners successfully navigate the maze of ACA-related rules and requirements. For example, the healthcare law requires employers to perform complex calculations to determine a business’ exact size. If incorrect assumptions are used, employers may face penalties for failing to provide adequate and affordable healthcare coverage to its full-time employees. Questco also helps its partners comply with complex or confusing compliance issues such as:
- Reporting of the value of health benefits on W-2 Forms
- Development and distribution of required employee notices
- Guidance in understanding contribution strategies
- Communication of other information to assist you in making decisions about healthcare coverage at your company
Questco also eliminates the need for employees to obtain healthcare coverage through a government marketplace, which only provides medical and dental benefits. And because we are a professional employer organization, our co-employees can participate in our large-group plan that provides access to unique plan designs often unavailable in the small-group market.
Our comprehensive offering provides:
- Access to more plan designs at competitive prices
- One-stop shopping for most, if not all, benefit and insurance needs, including medical, dental, life, disability, vision and other insurance such as workers’ compensation
Questco is uniquely positioned to help employers understand how the ACA’s shared-responsibility provision affects their businesses. We also shield our co-employment partners from unnecessary scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service during ACA-related enforcement matters. For more information, please visit http://questco.net/.