(Health Reform: A Guide for Employers - by The Word & Brown Companies)
UPDATE: PPACA Individual Mandate Upheld by Supreme Court
On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision ruling that the mandate for every American to have health insurance was constitutional. This means that beginning in 2014, everyone will be required to have health insurance, either through a government-sponsored plan, their employer or by purchasing it individually. Those who choose not to carry insurance will have to pay a penalty or a tax, (what to call it is still being debated), of $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is greater. If in 2016 you still don't have insurance, the amount increases to $695 per adult and $347 per child, up to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of your income, whichever is greater.
Tax Credits for Small Employers
Employers with fewer than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000 may claim a tax credit for the cost of providing insurance which began with 2011 tax returns.
Health plans that cover dependents now have to cover dependents on a parents plan until their 26th birthday regardless of their student status. This applies both to new and existing plans.
Business with 250 employees or more in 2011 must begin to report on 2012 W-2s (issued Jan. 2013), the aggregate value of health benefits provided to each employee including medical, dental and vision coverage. Employers with fewer than 250 employees fall under the requirement beginning with W-2s issued Jan. 2014.
Health Care Premium Use
For small employer and individual health insurance plans, at least 80% of all premium dollars collected are spent on health care services and health care quality improvement. (85% for large group plans).
Requirement to Inform Employees
Beginning in 2013, employers must provide each employee with written information on the employer health plan, health exchanges, available subsides for insurance and guidelines about how to purchase insurance.
Simple Cafeteria Safe Harbor
Beginning 2011, simple cafeteria plans for small business include a safe harbor from nondiscrimination requirements if the employer averaged 100 or fewer employees during either of the 2 years preceding 2011.
Employer Play or Pay
Beginning in 2014, employers with more than 50 employees will pay a per-employee penalty fee if they do not offer health coverage or if they offer coverage and at least one full-time employee receives a premium subsidy.
Tax on "Cadillac" Plans
Beginning in 2018, there will be an excise tax on any "excess benefit" of employer-sponsored coverage. This is currently defined as more than $10,200 for individual coverage or more than $27,500 for family coverage.
Employers with more than 200 employees must automatically enroll employees in employer-sponsored plans.