Christina Merhar, Senior Editor for Zane Benefits, reported that according to a 2014 survey by the National Small Business Associate, small businesses (50 full-time employees or less) spend an average of 13 hours, or $1275, a month in order to keep up with Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance. Unfortunately, even with this solid investment, small employers are still coming up short on compliance delivery. Though the reason for this shortcoming could just be the organization's lack of resources, it’s more likely a problem of focus.
Compliance experts recommend that small businesses focus on the following concerns in order to build more effective programs:
Benefits Plan Structure: Ensure that each and every health plan offered by your company meets new standards for plan structure. As an example, if market reforms require group health plans to cover preventative care with cost-sharing, your plan must meet that standard as well.
Exchange Notice Management: Confirm that you have provided a notice to all employees about the availability of ACA Health Insurance Exchanges. If needed, template notices are available here.
Minimum Essential Coverage: All business owners must ensure that employees have minimum essential coverage, which means that each employee must have qualified health insurance even if it is not available through their employer.
Eligibility and Enrollment Requirements: Always make sure that if you are offering health benefits, you need to confirm that you are following all new eligibility and enrollment requirements. An example might be ACA’s 90-Day Maximum waiting period for new enrollment.
Calculating Full-Time Equivalent Employees: If you are on the edge of becoming an applicable large employer (with more than 50 employers), it is important to review your hiring and staffing decisions, as the transition to the next level will mean considerable ACA compliance changes.