By Larry Hannappel
The U.S. Supreme Court this year upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
So now what?
Getting a handle on the ACA isn’t for the faint of heart; it’s extremely complex stuff for even the experts and things might change.
For now, however, it’s safe to say that employers have a few options: comply with the law, pay the penalty or structure their workforces so as not to be subject to the law.
Under the law, large employers – those with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees – will face penalties starting in 2014 if they fail to offer health plan coverage to all full-time employees.
Full-time workers include anyone scheduled to work 30 hours or more per week on average. The penalties can be harsh: if you fail to offer health plan benefits to even one such full-time employee, you will have to pay a per-employee penalty of $2,000 based on the total number of your full-time employees.
But don’t despair; there are some options for employers.
Rather than simply paying the penalty or providing health care benefits to all employees, employers can restructure their workforce to stay below the 50-employee threshold.
And that’s where temporary workers can help.
Employers can bring on more temporary workers on the understanding that staffing agencies like Apprentice Personnel will provide the required insurance.
Also, the use of seasonal workers may allow some employers to escape the ACA’s insurance mandate.
The Internal Revenue Service has proposed a seasonal-worker exception that would permit employers to escape the mandate if its employment of seasonal workers classified it as a “large employer.”
Such employers will not be subject to the ACA if the employer uses the services of seasonal workers hired though a staffing agency, the employer’s workforce was only over 50 full-time employees for 120 days or less during the preceding calendar year, and all of the employees in excess of 50 full-time employees were seasonal workers.
Finally, while we cannot promise that our clients will not see an increase in rates come Jan 1, 2014 to pay for healthcare, Apprentice Personnel is tackling these issues now and working on real solutions to minimize the impact of healthcare reform.
About the Author
Larry spent 16 years with Century Casino’s and was instrumental in the start-up and growth of the company through expansions in Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Poland and on several cruise ships as well as in Colorado. He was most recently the SVP, Principal Finance Officer and COO of North American operations for Century Casinos Inc., a multinational, Nasdaq-traded gaming company. Earlier in his career, Larry worked at the Johns Manville Corp. Larry spent 13 years in various accounting and finance functions in the company’s fiberglass manufacturing division and was key in the start-up of a molding plant in Indiana. Larry and his wife Kathy and three children live in Colorado. He enjoys four-wheeling, motorcycling, golfing, skiing and brewing beer.