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Top Resources for Answering Your ACA Questions

Ever since the ACA was signed into law in early 2010, it’s left many employers wondering about the full implications and how it will impact their businesses. Some employers may be curious whether or not it affects them at all. In this post, we will explain the basics of the ACA and provide you with some helpful resources that should answer any questions you may have.


What is the ACA?

At its core, the ACA is a healthcare reform that was designed to provide Americans with adequate health coverage at a reasonable price. It’s also meant to prevent healthcare companies from discriminating against or excluding individuals with existing medical conditions. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “the Affordable Care Act puts consumers back in charge of their health care. Under the law, a new “Patient’s Bill of Rights” gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health.”



Here are some ACA FAQs by employers regarding this reform:

  • Do I have to provide my employees with health coverage?
  • Are small businesses affected differently than larger businesses?
  • Will I be penalized if I fail to provide coverage?
  • How much do penalties cost?
  • Am I eligible for tax credits if I provide coverage?
  • What is the long-term impact of the ACA going forth?

To help clear up any confusion, here are some great resources to check out:


This site is where can sign up to get coverage for your employees and they can enroll. Under the All Topics section, you can get a quick rundown on how the marketplace works and how to use it. Learn about health insurance basics and the types of coverage that is offered. A key area you will want to focus on is the Businesses section, which goes over the small business health option program (SHOP) and how to enroll. You can learn about the differences between coverage for large vs. small businesses. There’s also information on the qualifications needed to receive tax credits.


The Healthcare section of this site provides a brief overview of the ACA and has some personal stories from people with direct experience with enrollment. This is helpful because of the firsthand insight you can gain, which can come in handy in your decision making process. There is a discussion on how the insurance marketplace works and how employees can find a doctor. In terms of how the law works, this resource explains coverage for children and adults, premium costs and explains the rights of individuals. Some other subjects include prevention and wellness for adults, women and children and facts and figures.


Finally, the U.S. Department of Labor has some great information about the ACA and goes fairly in depth to answer any leftover questions. There is an abundance of info on regulations and guidance, which goes over topics like ACA implementation, enrollment, health benefits, health plans and wellness programs. Numerous studies and surveys should help you learn about any other details you can’t find elsewhere. There are even a few webinars and webcasts for any other concerns you may have.

These resources should help provide a better  understanding of the ACA and how it specifically affects your business. For more help in making the best decisions regarding health coverage for your employees download our e-book:  What Every Small Business Needs to Know about PPACA.


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Employer Sponsored Insurance

Why Your Small Business Should Offer Employer Sponsored Insurance

The ACA has had a big impact on the state of health coverage, and left some businesses wondering if they should offer employer sponsored insurance. While there are obvious costs involved, the overall benefits usually outweigh these costs. Here are some of the top reasons why your small business should offer employer sponsored insurance and details on what you can expect to pay.


Employee Benefits

Offering coverage can have a positive impact on the overall health and wellbeing of your workforce. Preventative care means that employees are less likely to be absent and miss long stretches of days. According the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “healthier employees are less likely to call in sick or use vacation time due to illness, and companies that support workplace health have a greater percentage of employees at work every day.”

This tends to translate into more annual income and more financial stability. They also have the peace of mind that they will be cared for if they acquire a serious illness. Having health coverage is especially important for lower paid workers and those making minimum wage. If these individuals get sick, they could definitely encounter difficulties paying for medical bills.


Why Have Health Insurance?

Besides the employee benefits, there are three distinct advantages for you the employer. First, it’s common to experience higher productivity among your workforce because employees tend to be in better health and are less likely to have accidents. When workers aren’t encumbered with illness, they’re likely to accomplish more in less time. This ultimately means you get more from employee resources, which can boost your profit margin.

Second, there are some significant tax advantages to offering employer sponsored insurance. Although the maximum small business tax credit was only 35 percent of premiums paid for small business owners in 2013, there is now a maximum tax credit of 50 percent in 2014. That 15 percent spike can really be a big help for employers.

Third, this can serve as a recruiting tool so that you can find the top talent in your industry. Having a quality healthcare plan in place is often a motivating factor for prospective employees and can give you an edge over competitors who lack coverage. If you’re looking to amass a team of professionals and minimize your turnover rate, this is a great way to do it.


Average Cost of Health Insurance

While there are numerous factors that determine the cost of health insurance, a 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey found that “annual premiums for employer sponsored health coverage were $16,351. Workers on average paid $4,565 towards the cost of their coverage.” However, with tax credits and the return on investment you’re likely to see from higher output, that number should diminish considerably.

Like most areas of business, there are pros and cons to health insurance. When you look at the big picture though, it usually makes sense to offer employer sponsored insurance. Not only do you get happy and healthy employees, but also you should be able to do more with available resources and build a stronger company.


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Affects of ACA on Small Businesses vs. Large Businesses

The ACA is a major healthcare reform and the most significant change to the healthcare system since Medicare and Medicaid. One area that’s been affected dramatically is the way that businesses offer health coverage to employees. The primary factor that determines how a company is affected is the size of its workforce. Let’s now take a look at the differences between small businesses vs. large businesses.


ACA for Small Business

Small businesses are by no means impacted in the same way that large businesses are. For employers with fewer than 50 employees, it’s their choice whether or not they want to offer coverage. On the other hand, businesses with more than 50 employees are obligated to provide coverage or they may be hit with an employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP). This occurs if one or more employees receive a premium tax credit from the health insurance marketplace.

Businesses with more than 50 workers will be fined $2,000 per employee excluding the first 30 employees when they don’t offer coverage to full-time employees. It’s also important to remember that the hours of several part-time employees can be combined to equal that of a full-time employee. Therefore, this should be taken into consideration when determining the number of full-time employees.


ACA Exemptions

A common misconception is that small businesses have to provide health coverage to workers or they will be penalized. This isn’t the case, and any company with fewer than 50 employees isn’t required to offer coverage and will not incur any penalties. However, there are some definite advantages of small business owners offering coverage to workers.


Benefits of ACA

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the ACA is the tax credits that employers can get. Prior to 2014, they could only get a tax credit of up to 35 percent of their employees’ contributions. Starting in 2014 and going forth, they can now get up to 50 percent as long as they purchase coverage through the SHOP marketplace. Unlike in the past where business owners were often forced to complete a lot of administrative tasks, the establishment of online healthcare exchanges has simplified things considerably. Consequently, they aren’t required to fill out piles of paperwork and can provide employees with quality health coverage with minimal hassle.

Due to the number of different health insurance plans available through the marketplace, employees are usually able to find the right coverage for the right price. There is a high level of customizability so all of their healthcare needs can be taken care of without being over-insured. Because healthcare providers cannot discriminate against individuals with existing medical conditions, the ACA makes it possible for nearly everyone to get coverage at a reasonable price.

The bottom line is that offering health coverage is simply an option for small businesses and a requirement for large businesses with more than 50 employees. Smaller operations don’t have to deal with penalties, while larger ones may have considerable penalties if they fail to provide coverage. However, with multiple benefits of the ACA, it would still behoove many small business owners to provide health insurance to their employees.


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