The Affordable Care Act or ACA, also known as Obamacare, is one of the biggest human resources issues of 2014. The long-awaited implementation of the ACA saw the opening of regulated health insurance marketplaces where individuals can buy plans with help from federal subsidies, if they qualify. The employer mandate, which will require companies with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance, has been delayed until January 2015, but most companies are already planning for how they will comply with the ACA’s health coverage requirements — and yours should, too.

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Many mid-sized companies are struggling to understand their options under the ACA. Finding affordable employee health coverage is a real concern. When you hire a professional employment organization, or PEO, you’ll get help navigating the new law and you’ll get access to cheaper health insurance, too.

What Does the ACA Employer Mandate Mean for Your Company?

No matter the size of your company, it’s important that you understand the implications of the ACA and know your obligations under the new law. If your company has 50 or more full-time employees, then starting in January 2015, you will need to offer health insurance coverage. Smaller companies will not be required to offer insurance, but as always, offering an attractive benefits package that includes health insurance coverage will help your company recruit the best candidates.

Employee health insurance costs are expected to go up under the ACA. Some companies have seen significant increases in health insurance costs for their employees. Part of the reason for the increase in costs is that more employees will be covered — the ACA requires everyone to have health insurance, either by purchasing it for themselves, obtaining it through their employer or obtaining it through public assistance programs if they qualify. Another part of the reason that costs are going up is that health insurance plans are now required to provide a higher threshold of care than they previously did.

Get Help Meeting Employee Health Insurance Requirements

If your company has 50 or more employees, then you’ll need to start offering employee health insurance coverage in 2015. Most mid-size companies already offer their employees health insurance, but the new minimum requirements for health insurance established by the ACA may mean that you’ll have to pay more for your employees’ health insurance plans or even buy your coverage from a different provider.

Not sure where or how to find adequate coverage that your company can afford? A PEO can guide you through the process of finding employee health insurance coverage. They’ll help you figure out what health benefits the majority of your employees would prefer, and then walk you through your company’s options. Your employees may have the opportunity to join the PEO’s group health insurance plan; if not, the PEO will guide your company in choosing affordable individual group health plans for your employees.

Ease Your Administrative Burden

Aside from the rising costs associated with the ACA, the new law can be an administrative landmine for mid-sized companies struggling to come to terms with all of its requirements. If your company is too small to have a dedicated human resources staff, you may find that, when it comes to the ACA, it’s not enough for your managers to take on the new administrative duties. They may not understand all the ACA requires them to do — it is a 980-page piece of legislation, after all — and even if they do understand, they probably just don’t have the time to do everything they’d need to do in order to comply with the new regulations.

That’s where PEOs come in. A good PEO can take on all the administrative duties associated with the ACA employer mandate implementation and can protect you from any liability issues related to that ACA that might arise — or any other employment law. Many PEOs offer their services piecemeal, allowing your company to choose specific tasks it needs help with — but you can also bundle multiple services, like payroll or retirement benefits, into a complete package that frees your managers up to devote more time to turning a profit.

If your company is struggling with the ACA implementation, a PEO can help. Contracting with a PEO can help your company save serious cash on employee health insurance. A PEO can offer invaluable assistance navigating the new maze of regulatory compliance that the ACA has created.

 

About the Author: Contributing blogger Tom Dobson has 15 years of experience as a CFO in mid-sized corporations.