ObamaCare? Yes He Does!

Businesses (especially those without a PEO) held their breath at the end of 2009, hoping that they wouldn’t get saddled with more government regulations. Alas, Obamacare, officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), sailed through both the U.S. House and Senate. Yes, he did.

But is it good for small businesses? That question remains to be answered, although many predict that PPACA will burden small businesses extensively with government compliance activity and costs. Some of the highlights (or lowlights) for businesses include:

• In the early days, businesses with 50 or more employees whose employees need to purchase government-subsidized insurance will pay a “shared responsibility requirement.”
• Employers need to add to their employees’ W-2s how much they paid in insurance for them, as if it were part of their salary.
• By the time PPACA is fully implemented, businesses with 50 or more employees that do not provide health insurance to all their full-time employees get slammed with a $2,000 per employee tax.

Wait, what? Oh, yes, he can! That’s why it’s important to compare health plans thoroughly before offering them to employees. Companies want to make sure that the plans meet all government compliance standards for PPACA and fit into their budgets - and as many business have encountered, these health insurance plans are not cheap.

Of course, with the Supreme Court ready to hear arguments on PPACA in March 2012 - they’ve scheduled a full five hours just for oral argument, so they’re either very serious about deciding the Constitutionality of PPACA or gluttons for punishment - all this may be moot. PPACA also stands a very real chance of being repealed for being unconstitutional - but that doesn’t mean businesses should rest on their laurels. Rest assured, if PPACA goes down, another version of it will surface... poking its head up in the House or Senate... and getting argued, amended, and passed under another name. Even if government compliance with PPACA becomes a moot point, in other words, it is very important to take note of the current requirements and prepare to offer employees health insurance, because future reforms may very well include similar provisions.

About the Author
Anthony Kelly is a frequent contributor to PEOcompare.com and has experience working for small businesses and Professional Employer Organizations since 1997. He frequently writes about compliance, Human Resources Outsourcing, PEO Insurance, PEO Brokers, and other issues affecting the small business owner.