Growing BusinessBENEFITS

The Basics of the Affordable Care Act


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often referred to as the ACA or Obamacare), which took effect January 2014, affects small businesses in significant ways. In a 2015 health care survey by the National Small Business Association, 49% of small business owners reported having a clear understanding of how the Affordable Care Act is impacting their business, compared to 42% in 2014. Although promising, this means that there may still be some information gaps. To determine the actual impact of the Affordable Care Act on your small business, it’s important to review its most fundamental provisions—including small business requirements, regulations, tax credits, potential penalties, and more. Here are important steps to get you started. As always, be sure to seek professional advice to ensure you are making all the right moves for your business.

If You’re Self-Employed

  • Get covered, claim an exemption, or pay the IRS.
  • Visit your state’s online health insurance marketplace.
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If Your Business Includes You and at Least One Employee

  • Notify your employee(s) about the new health insurance marketplace/
  • Provide employees with a Summary of Benefits Coverage (SBC).
  • Determine how to handle premium rebates.
  • Limit employees’ health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions.
  • Increase Medicare withholding on wages.
  • Cover eligible employees within 90 days.
  • Become familiar with Transitional Reinsurance Program fees.
  • Optimize your workplace wellness program.
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If Your Business Has Fewer Than 50 Employees

  • Check if you’re eligible for tax credits.
  • Take advantage of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace.
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If Your Business Has at Least 50 Full-Time/FTE Employees

  • Be aware of Employer Shared Responsibility penalties.
  • Follow new tax reporting rules beginning in 2015.
  • Report health coverage costs on W-2s.
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What You Should Do Now

  • View the timeline for your next steps.
  • Check out your health insurance options.
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