Calif. Employers Consider Strategies for Complying With ACA Mandate
Businesses in California are working to change their health benefit offerings under the Affordable Care Act while keeping costs manageable, the Sacramento Bee reports (Cadelago, Sacramento Bee, 9/16).
Under the requirement, employers with at least 50 full-time workers must provide affordable health coverage or face a $2,000 fine per worker after the first 30 employees.
In a pair of posts published on the White House and Treasury Department blogs in July, officials said the mandate will be delayed for one year -- until 2015 -- to address employers' and business groups' concerns and to give them more time to comply with reporting requirements (California Healthline, 9/6).
Business Work To Comply With Employer Mandate
Businesses are considering different strategies for complying with the ACA's employer mandate, according to a national survey released last month.
According to the survey, such methods include:
- Offering a stipend to help employees purchase their own health insurance;
- Reducing benefits for part-time workers;
- Switching to consumer-directed health plans, such as health savings accounts;
- Rotating workers between businesses to classify them as "seasonal" and avoid the requirement; and
- Excluding spousal coverage.
Helen Darling -- president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, which conducted the survey -- said eliminating spousal coverage likely will be "the future" of health benefits for large businesses.
Meanwhile, some businesses also might opt to pay a penalty rather than provide coverage.
Difficulties With Certain Strategies
Neil Crosby -- director of sales at Calif.-based Warner Pacific Insurance Services -- said companies will have to pay more in coming years if they do not offer coverage because the penalty increases under the ACA.
In addition, Crosby said businesses' tax liability and workers' compensation costs could increase if companies give employees a stipend rather than providing health coverage. Workers also might use the money for something other than health insurance, he added (Sacramento Bee, 9/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.