It seems nearly everyday lately there is Obamacare news.  And most of it seems to be surrounding extensions or relief. Two announcements made in the past week are no exceptions.

The first had to do with healthcare plans that were cancelled last year because they did not meet the Affordable Care Act’s minimum essential coverage requirements.  

Cancellation notices were sent to millions of Americans from their insurance carriers, contradicting President Obama's promise that the ACA would not force anyone to change plans if they liked the ones they were on.  

As a result, the President announced a transition relief policy that allowed health insurance issuers to renew the non-compliant policies through 2014.  

That policy was extended last week, allowing plans to be renewed through October 1, 2016. For more information, please see the announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The "final reporting" regulations of the ACA were also released recently. These regulations govern the reports insurance carriers and employers will have to file to show that ACA-compliant coverage is being offered when required under the employer mandate.  The reports will be due in early 2016 to report on coverage offered in 2015.

Under the ACA, insurance carriers will have to complete Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC, or Section 6055) reporting. Employers with more than 50 full-time employees will be responsible for Applicable Large Employer (ALE, or Section 6056) reporting. Self-insured employers must complete both sections, but the final regulations combine both sections onto one form that will have to be completed.  The final regulations also simplify the information employers must provide under section 6056 of that form. Finally, the regulations establish 2015 as a “phase-in” period where the information required is simplified even further for employers if they can certify that they offered qualifying coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees during the year. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Fact Sheet on the final regulations.

The employer mandate provision of the ACA may be the part employers are most worried about, but these recent changes show the law runs much deeper than that. While these particular changes may not have an impact on most staffing or recruiting firms due to their size, there are other provisions that affect even the smallest employers. Therefore, If you have even one in-house employee or one contractor on your payroll, you need to keep up with all the latest developments on this complex law.  We will continue to do our part to keep you up-to-date.

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