New year brings new healthcare requirements to employers

New year brings new healthcare requirements to employers
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A new year will bring some new healthcare requirements to employers nationwide.

Some are finding that renewing in an Affordable Care Act compliant plan is creating a financial strain on their business.

Beginning Jan. 1, all employers with more than 100 employees will be required to provide healthcare coverage, or face penalties.

Mark VonMoss, manager of the financial services department at The Insurancenter in Joplin, says many common organizations without coverage include home healthcare agencies, hospice agencies, or other companies that have a lot of part-time employees.

Those who fail to meet the 2015 mandate will be penalized $2,000 per employee.

VonMoss says enrolling or renewing plans is also turning out to be a financial strain.

“Cost is really the main driver of all this,” he said. “Can the employer afford to pay?”

VonMoss says for many employers, renewing to an ACA compliant plan may result in some significant price increases.

“It limits deductibles,” he said. “It gives you unlimited lifetime coverage. There are a lot of coverage changes. The coverage plans are different and in most times better, so that makes the cost for the plan go up.”

He estimates the increases to be anywhere between 25 to 65 percent.

Coverage will have to be provided for employees working 30 plus hours a week.

“What we fear is going to happen is these businesses are going to take their 40 hour employees and make them 29 hours,” said state representative Charlie Davis, District 128. “The lady that’s at McDonald’s in the morning, you’re going to see her at Burger King at night because she can’t just live off 29 hours a week. She’s going to need two jobs.”

Two jobs, but no coverage through either employer.

Employers who might struggle to afford renewed plans or penalties.

“I think it’s going to drive businesses out of business and it’s going to drive employees to be part-time or lose their jobs,” Davis said.

Employers under the 2015 mandate must renew in an ACA compliant plan by their 2015 renewal date.

Businesses who provide coverage that is deemed unaffordable to their employees will also face a $3,000 penalty for each employee that goes to the Marketplace for a subsidy.

Employers in the 50 to 99 employee category must provide healthcare benefits by 2016.