The small business Obamacare jigsaw puzzle

ObamacarePuzzleRegardless of size, all employers must notify employees of open enrollment in the health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare) by March 1, 2013.

No wait, we don’t have the form ready yet – probably will be in July now. Whoops. Wow, July came and went so fast. Let’s shoot for October, yep definitely going to be October. If you don’t do it in October then you could be fined up to $100 a day. Wait, skip that, we won’t fine you if you don’t do it by October 1.

For now anyway. Check back with us.

Businesses with more than 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees must determine business size and full-time status of employees in preceding calendar year (2013). If the employer does not offer essential minimum coverage, the annual penalty equals $2,000 x the number of full-time employees (minus the first 30). If the employer does offer “affordable” coverage, it must pay (1) a penalty of $3,000 for each employee whose coverage is deemed “unaffordable” (based on family income) and who then accesses subsidies in the exchange, or (2) the non-offering employer formula, whichever is less.

Wait. Skip that determine business size and full-time status of employees in preceding calendar year in 2013 thing. . . .

Let’s go with 2014 instead. Since we can’t figure the penalties because of the delay we’ll skip those too until 2015. What? You already adjusted your workforce in anticipation of the deadline? Well you were going to do it anyway and all those employees you cut to part-time a year earlier than necessary will understand too.

Maybe we will change it again. Not sure. Check back with us.

Oh, yeah by the way, those Small Business Health Options (SHOP) exchanges that we promised would solve all your problems and were to be up and running by 2014? Well, um, kind of a glitch there too. Looks like it will be ready by 2015 now, but we will put up something in 2014 maybe just one choice of plan or something. Check back with us.

Hey, you employers with more than 200 employees! Don’t forget that you will be required to auto-enroll all employees into your health insurance unless they decline coverage – whoa, wait a minute – delayed until further DOL regulations are issued! Check back with us.

Also, any of you small business owners out there that are still offering health insurance when we get done with this other stuff – don’t forget when you design your health care plans that we will have stricter and stronger employer nondiscrimination requirements. What are they so you can plan? Well, um, they’re delayed until further IRS regulations are issued. Check back with us.

Author’s note: Employers, or anyone else that may be curious, can get the latest information and links to the required employee notice forms due October 1 at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Michigan website HERE. Be warned, however, that the requirements keep changing. Check back with us.

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About Charles Owens

Charles Owens has been advocating the interests of small business in the Michigan Legislature for over 25 years, beginning with his tenure at the Michigan Institute of Laundering and Dry-cleaning and currently with the National Federation of Independent Business / Michigan. As the State Director of one of Michigan's most respected small business organizations, Owens is responsible for directing the NFIB in its mission to maintain the viability of small business in the face of expanded legislative and regulatory challenges. Owens has been an active participant in the legislative debate over numerous landmark Michigan issues including: the Michigan Environmental Protection Act, inheritance tax, tort liability reform, Unemployment Insurance reform, Workers’ Compensation, and Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Act (MIOSHA) issues. Owens and the NFIB spearheaded the efforts of other small business groups in the fight for fairness and equity for small business in the debate over the repeal and replacement for the Michigan Business Tax. Owens is a 25 year member of the Capitol Club, a dedicated group of association executives committed to the advancement of legislative advocacy for their respective organizations. In 2005 he was elected by his peers to be President of the organization. In 2006, Owens was ranked as number five of the top ten single interest individual lobbyists in Michigan by Inside Michigan Politics. Under his leadership, NFIB was also ranked in the top twenty lobbyist organizations and top ten single interest lobbying organizations by the same publication. Originally a native of Rockford, Illinois, Owens graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelors Degree in Finance and Business Administration. follow on twitter: @OwensNFIB
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