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Blog By: Jeanne Hines, SPHR

If you watch classic films, you may remember the famous baseball comedy sketch by Abbott and Costello that started out, “Who’s on first?”  The name of the first baseman was “Who” but the conversation got so convoluted that neither person could understand what the other was trying to say.   

We've heard some of the same comments from clients about health care reform.  Things got especially confusing when compliance was suspended for 2014.  As if compliance wasn't already complicated enough, employers may now be wondering whether they should enact a different strategy with regard to their health care benefits. 

An important thing to remember is that the employer shared responsibility provision of health care reform is still effective January 1, 2014.  Employers with over 50 employees will still be required to provide affordable health insurance that meets minimum value requirements for those who work over 30 hours per week.  The only thing that’s changed is that the penalty structure won’t begin until 2015.

If you have already begun counting your employees on a regular basis to determine whether you’re a large or small employer, we and the IRS suggest that you continue to voluntarily comply
.  If you haven’t started, now would be the perfect time to begin.  By this time next year, your plans will need to be firmed up.  The employee count provides guidance as to the most appropriate course of action.  By starting now or continuing to count employees, you will be able to refine your process and better understand what works or doesn't work for your company.  In addition, if you have variable hour employees whom you want to stay under the eligibility threshold of 30 hours per week, you will have ample time to determine whether your schedule is working or if adjustments to their hours or to the plan needs to be made.

For more details regarding this change, please visit our Health Care Reform section of the website and see the document entitled, “Employer Reporting of Health Plan Coverage.”  As always, your WA Insurance Group representatives are ready to assist you in compliance in this and many other areas.  We are here to support your success.

Coincidentally, this portion of the health care reform law is often referred to as “Play or Pay.”  Just imagine what Abbott and Costello could have done with that!
Posted 12:12 PM

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