The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) “play or pay” provisions already apply to employers with 100 or more employees.
Employers with 50 to 99 employees are already supposed to be collecting the full-time equivalent (FTE) employee counts they need to comply with the PPACA coverage requirements in 2016.
But employers without floors full of top benefits lawyers and corporate tax accountants in their headquarters buildings are struggling to get a basic understanding of what they have to do to comply with PPACA.
Even lawyers, accountants, and benefits brokers who have memorized the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) website directory structure, and know where to go on the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) websites for the latest drips of PPACA guidance, are having trouble knowing what’s coming.
Jay Starkman is one of the experts. He’s the chief executive officer of Engage PEO, a professional employer organization (PEO). His company serves as the official employer, or co-employer, for other companies’ employees, and his company assumes as much responsibility for human resources functions and benefits programs as employers want to cede, and are legally allowed to cede.
Starkman has tried to make Engage PEO a source of PPACA expertise, and comfort.
In an interview, he said he is still hearing the same employer questions he was being asked a year ago: “What does it mean?” and “How do I comply with it?”
“People are just confused,” Starkman said.
For more of Starkman’s thoughts on PPACA uncertainty, read on.
1. Managers at midsize employers know that PPACA will affect them, but not necessarily much else.
In general, Starkman said, “I think the economy’s in a strong place right now.”
The kinds of employers that use his services were providing good benefits before PPACA came along, and they’re still providing good benefits, he said.
Last year, for example, regulators and others suggested that many employers might try to put workers in plans that barely meet PPACA requirements, such as self-sponsored group plans that cover the PPACA preventive services package and little else, or PPACA plans that just cover enough of the actuarial value of the PPACA essential health benefits package to possibly qualify as minimum essential coverage (MEC).