The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and then signed into law by the President on March 23, 2010. On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court rendered a final decision to uphold the health care law.
For employers with more than 50 employees (actually with more than 50 full-time equivalents, or FTEs), on January 1, 2014, the employer mandate will take effect. What this means is that organizations with more than 50 FTEs must offer health insurance coverage to their full-time employees that is affordable and of a minimum value or pay tax penalties for those employees who receive tax credits/subsidies for coverage through the exchanges. Exchanges are marketplaces where health insurance may be purchased.
For employers with less than 50 employees, effective January 1, 2014, there will be options to provide health insurance through private exchanges, state exchanges, or the Federal exchange for those in states that do not establish an exchange. To learn more about the exchanges and what to expect in your state, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/choices/exchanges/.
In addition, employers with fewer than 25 employees may qualify for a health care tax credit under the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit (nonprofit employers are eligible for this credit if they have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, pay an average wage of less than $50,000 a year, and pay at least half of employee health insurance premiums). This credit took effect for the 2010 tax year, and will be enhanced in the 2014 tax year.
The 2012 webinar presented by Ernst & Young is a good overview of the Affordable Care Act.
To learn more:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: www.healthcare.gov
Health Care Blog: http://www.healthcare.gov/blog
Key features of the Affordable Care Act, by year: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/timeline/full.html
Small Business Health Care Tax Credit: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Small-Business-Health-Care-Tax-Credit-for-Small-Employers