Affordable Care Act Update

UPDATE: On March 24th, the American Health Care Act was pulled by Republicans. House Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen announced that the health care bill is unacceptable and that some changes “raised serious coverage and cost issues.” Many Republicans were on the fence about the legislation of AHCA since they like policies in the ACA better. This means that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay for now unless a stronger and better legislation comes along in the future. With the same policies and rules, compliance with the ACA should be met by employers and employees.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare provides millions of people with health coverage and it holds insurance companies accountable. However, the ACA has been on the rocks since the change of administration, with plans to replace the ACA.

In regards to the recent proposals to appeal the ACA, many Americans are concerned with the future of their healthcare coverage. Obamacare has provided options for low-income families and employees, that would typically not be able to access healthcare coverage. Although ACA can be beneficial, it is also a disadvantage for people who are required to pay for it but do not utilize it. Obamacare penalizes people who do not pay for insurance which means they are required to have health insurance, but if this legislation is repealed then individuals can choose to acquire a health plan or not.

Employers will appreciate some aspects of the new legislation, American Health Care Act (AHCA), such as the elimination of penalties for employers not offering insurance to full-time employees. The AHCA maintains certain ACA coverage, but with varying criteria needed to be met. Some of these include eliminating exclusions for pre-existing conditions, covering adult dependent children 26 and under, limiting out-of-pocket expenses, and more.

As of right now, the new administration and Republicans in the House and Senate are cooperating to modify or repeal the ACA, but everything is still up in the air. In the meantime, the Affordable Care Act still applies to everyone. At AMGtime, we know how important it is to track and be complying of the ACA, therefore we have created the ACA Compliance module that calculates hours needed to meet the requirements for compliant health insurance. This module keeps companies on track so they will not be charged for not offering health coverage or not meeting the minimum value.

Learn more about our ACA Compliance module: https://amgtime.com/aca-compliance

 

Source: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=76d89dd2-4f37-4c1d-8e87-9d22ba5f1cce



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AMGtime ACA Affordable Care Act Blog

ACA full effect starting January 1, 2015

Image-Affordable-Care-Act-logo-generic

1. Government Requirements

Starting January 1st, 2015 medium-to-large employers are responsible for reporting to the government the number of hours each employee works, as well as all changes in full-time status that occur on a regular basis. The paperwork involved with compliance is monumental.

2. Solution

As we all know, the government likes all of the “t’s” crossed and the “i’s” dotted. AMGtime’s software has you covered with the Affordable Care Act Module. This tool includes an all-inclusive pair of reports: ACA Compliance Report and ACA Full Time Look-Back Report. These reports eliminate countless hours of shuffling paper around, checking-and-rechecking.

3. Accessing the ACA Module

To take advantage of the Affordable Care Act Module, make sure your software is up to date. If you need an update, go to “Help” in the program menu and choose “Update”.

If you’re an AMGtime Web Subscription client, log onto your web panel and check if you have the ACA module by going to the Help section and choosing License Information. If you don’t have the ACA module, you can purchase it at any time by clicking on the Order link.

4. AMGtime ACA Compliance Report

This report shows whether the company is ACA compliant or not. ACA compliance is measured over a certain period of time, called the Measurement period, which can be defined before generating the report. The measurement period can be from 3 to 12 months or from 13 to 52 weeks. Moreover, if activating the Forecast option, it is possible to create a forecast by calculating part-time employees’ hours based on their schedule, not actual worked hours.

ACA compliance report sample
ACA compliance report sample

1. Full Time Employee Count – displays the count of all Full-Time employees (whether an employee is full-time or part-time is defined from employee’s status).

2. Total Hours for FTE – displays the total worked hours of all Part-Time employees (whether an employee is full-time or part-time is defined from employee’s status).

3. FTE Count – displays the count of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees (FTE count = Total Hours of FTE divided by 30 hours/week or 120 hours/month)

4. Total FTE Count – displays the sum of all employees equivalent to full time

At the bottom of the table, the report shows the average of Total FTE Count within the selected measurement period. If the average FTE count is more than 50, then the company is ACA Compliant, if less than 50, then not.

5. AMGtime ACA Full Time Look-Back Report

This report shows whether employees’ status should be changed or not based on the hours they worked during the measurement period. Just like in the case of the ACA Compliance report, it is necessary to define the measurement period before generating a report.

ACA Full Time Lookback report sample
ACA Full Time Look Back report sample

1. Hire Date – displays the date employee was hired.

2. Total Hours – displays total hours worked within the selected measurement period.

3. Average Hours – displays average monthly or weekly hours worked within the selected measurement period. (Average Hours = Total Hours divided by the number of months or weeks).

4. Current ACA Status – displays the current status of an employee.

5. Look-Back ACA Status – displays the status of an employee based on average monthly or weekly hours.

Formula: Employee is qualified for Full-Time, if he/she works on average 130 hours/month or 30 hours/week. Otherwise employee’s status would be Part-Time.

Change Required

  • displays No, if Current and Look-Back ACA statuses are the same
  • displays Yes, if Current and Look-Back ACA statuses are NOT the same



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An “In-the-Know” Update on the Affordable Care Act

Ok, here we go! With daily talk of the new laws regarding healthcare in America, it is easy to get confused about what this all means to you. Are you covered…or not? What does it cost the average person, and what will that mean for you and your business? After all, small businesses typically have a difficult time being able to pay for healthcare insurance if they don’t have an abundance of employees.

First of all, let’s review exactly what the Affordable Care Act is. It begins by allowing everyone to take charge of their own healthcare. Before, people were at the mercy of a vast insurance system that could drop coverage when a person needed it the most or simply deny any coverage at all because of any pre-existing conditions. This created a crushing financial burden on individuals and taxpayers. The Affordable Care Act prevents insurance companies from dropping your coverage simply because you have asthma, high blood pressure or cancer (or any other ailment).

This law also forces insurance companies to justify their rate increases, bans lifetime limits on coverage, and extends preventative care to everyone while allowing them to choose their own doctor.

But the big question is…what does that mean for companies? For small businesses or those that are self-employed, the individual mandate or Individual Shared Responsibility provision still remains. This means that you are still required to have basic coverage, although you can qualify for exemption, or you may be forced to pay a fee at the end of the year. There are also tax credits and subsidies available – as well as several benefit packages that each company can choose from based on their size and needs.

The Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, helps smaller companies provide coverage to their employees. Companies with less than 25 employees may qualify for tax credits, but if you are the only employee, then, you must get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. SHOP allows companies to choose between bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels that begin with basic coverage and increase from there. You can decide based on the needs of your company which one is right for both you and your employees, taking into account monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. It is vastly important to balance premiums with out-of-pocket costs because low premiums may equate to the hassle of more out-of-pocket costs for your employees.

Without question, it is a delicate balance to ensure that you and your employees can afford healthcare (and one that is often not easily made). However, a medical crisis can be financially devastating for a family, so whatever route you plan to take, coverage is an important protection and safeguard to have in any situation.



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What the Affordable Care Act Means for Your Time and Attendance

With PPACA, or Obamacare, postponed to January 1st, 2015, you may not know that you, as an employer, are required to begin tracking your employees and their hours for the 2014 work year. Many large employers will be required to report the full-time status of each of their employees to the IRS, beginning in 2015. The majority of employers will have to rely on 2014 year time records to make an accurate determination of their workers and hours clocked in. While this will be no easy task, the best way to capture accurate time histories is by employing a reliable time and attendance system.

The IRS has recently provided further information to aid in understanding the Affordable Care Act and how employers are to agree upon full-time/part-time status (and consequentially, eligibility for their group plan).  At the root of these clarifications is the need to track, calculate, and report employees’ hours for specific periods of time throughout the 2014 work year.

Time and attendance software will prove to be the perfect solution to help employers track the full or part-time status of employees and guarantee cooperation with the Affordable Care Act. Employers can easily avoid cost and compliance difficulties by choosing and establishing a time and attendance system that tracks of the accumulation of employee hours and notifies the employer either before an employee’s hours result in a status (full-time or part-time) change or when it becomes time to begin offering health insurance to an employee who qualifies as a full-time worker.

If an employer has the ability to measure whether an employee may gather enough hours to attain full-time status, they can put a stop to accidental status changes, which will decrease their liability for neglecting to make health insurance available to the employee while also reducing their risk of being audited – a hassle no company wants to go through at the fault of a simple recording mistake.

AMGtime is here to help employers seamlessly transition into the upcoming changes the Affordable Care Act has mandated. The bottom line is that accurately tracking and counting an employee’s work hours is the first and most important step to adhere to the employer duties according to the ACA. Time and attendance systems provide helpful analysis to the payroll department and managers as employee work hours accumulate. AMGtime provides the type of time and attendance software that is a masterful fit for this kind of job. So why waste time, when you have AMGtime on your side?



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Health Carefree

Healthcare+reformA new era for American Healthcare begins January of next year, when one of the most crucial provisions of the Affordable Care Act (unofficially and universally known as Obamacare) takes effect.

From that day forward, all businesses that employ fifty people or more will be required to offer minimum health coverage to their employees, or else face a $2000 to $3000 penalty per uninsured worker.

Two consequences of the law immediately come to mind: One, more Americans will receive health benefits than ever before. And two, many employers will do whatever is in their power to circumvent the new regulations.

Those at the borderline will probably be bidding farewell to the fifty-first and fiftieth members of their team, but what about those who need a larger workforce yet can’t afford the healthcare or the penalties? It’s in the solution that we discover who really benefits from Affordable Care (beyond…you know, the people getting healthcare). In outsourcing the jobs that need doing without adding employees to the payroll and tipping over into the bracket the Act specifies, employers will likely turn to temporary staffing agencies to provide stopgap labor while keeping a limit on the number of employees they have in an official, “on the books” sense.

Now there’s every likelihood this workaround might be temporary or even illegal as the government responds to business action intended to subvert the law, but you can be sure that employers are going to use every trick in the book—as well as coming up with some brand new tricks—in order to game the system.

Less than half a year, and the festivities begin. But hey, at least preexisting conditions might not disqualify people from receiving care anymore.


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