Your Small Business & the ACA: Changes for 2015

the affordable care act and your small business90% of US firms have less than 20 full-time employees and about 96% of firms have fewer than 50 full time employees. If you’re one of these businesses, the New Year means more roll outs and changes by the ACA. These changes can affect your bottom line, and failure to adhere to the mandates may result in penalties or worse. Know your rights: Read about the high-level changes that 2015 will bring, as well as what to look forward to in 2016.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or more casually known as Obamacare, is continuing its roll out in 2015. Delayed for a year, 2015 brings the full implementation of the mandate that requires employers with at least 25 workers to provide health insurance. Employers with 50-99 full time employees are also affected by new changes in 2015.

Employer Shared Responsibility “Play or Pay” Mandate

Starting in 2015, employers with 50+ full time employees may be subject to a penalty for not providing health coverage to workers.

Small businesses with 50-99 full time workers will have until 2016 to comply, before full enforcement begins.

Employers with 100+ full time workers must offer coverage to 70% of their employees in 2015, and 95% in 2016.

Exchanges & SHOP

North Carolina operates under a Federally Facilitated Exchange (FFE). Individuals and small businesses may shop for plans on the online marketplace, healthcare.gov.

Similar to the Individual Exchange marketplace, North Carolina small businesses (organizations with up to 50 employees) may purchase health insurance coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchange.

Created to facilitate employers’ search for health insurance plans, SHOP is open to employers with up to 50 full-time workers, and is said to provide increased purchasing power and higher-quality coverage.

The U.S. Small Business Association reports, “if you offer your employees coverage through the SHOP and meet other eligibility requirements, you may be able to claim the Small Business Tax Credit worth up to 50%.”

To see if you meet the requirements for SHOP, use the SHOP FTE Calculator Tool. For more information, visit www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses or call the SHOP Call Center at 1-800-706-7893.

Small Business Tax Credits

Designed to help businesses handle the cost of providing the mandated health coverage, small business tax credits were made available beginning in 2014. However, the tax credit is targeted to those businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees, and caters to low- to moderate-income workers. The tax credit is accessed through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchange.

Insurance leader, BCBSNC, states, “Starting in 2016, the SHOP will be expanded to include employers up to 100 employees and in 2017, states are allowed to open the SHOP to employers of more than 100 employees.”

Check out this Tax Estimator Tool from healthcare.gov to see if you qualify, and what the tax may look like for your small business.

Employer Information Reporting Mandate

Beginning in 2015, employers with 50 or more full time employees are required to provide annual reports of health care costs to the IRS. The first reports will be due early 2016.

For more on the specific requirements of small businesses, visit www.sba.gov/content/employers-with-fewer-25-employees.


Contact a Cary Business Law Attorney

Don’t let your small business be susceptible to penalty or law suit. Know your rights and the changes that 2015 brings to your small business. Should you ever require an experienced defense or legal counsel, please call the The Doyle Law Offices at (919) 228-4487 or fill out the form below.

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