More guidance available as Obamacare open enrollment nears
The folks at Richard J. Princinsky and Associates are back – and just in time, too.
We're closing in fast on the Oct. 1 launch of open enrollment in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – popularly (or unpopularly, depending on your point of view) known as Obamacare.
It seems the closer we get to the deadline, the more questions arise about the health care law.
The RJP team has been scrambling to provide answers.
- They held a town hall meeting in August to answer CPAs' questions about the law. The meeting was so popular that we recorded it and are offering it again as a four-hour webcast on Sept. 19.
- They recorded a podcast with me in which they discussed the challenges CPAs face in complying with the new law – and the opportunities they have to help guide clients through the Obamacare maze.
Now, they've written an article in which they examine some of the issues that small business are sure to encounter as they comply with the law.
Chief among them is a new ratings structure to determine the cost of health insurance.
The current structure is pretty straightforward; it's based on the average age of all employees enrolled in a company's health insurance plan. "Once the average age has been determined, insurance companies establish the rates for each tier level of coverage, meaning individuals, individuals plus spouses, families, and all employees pay the same tier rate, regardless of their ages," writes RJP President Richard Princinsky.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2014, that will change radically. The new structures, writes Princinsky, "will be based on the age of each individual employee and dependents enrolled. That means rates will be based on each person’s age, not a group’s average age and common tier level rate. All employees and their dependents with different ages will have a unique rate."
That's just one particularly complex piece of the health care puzzle.
Some provisions – the employer mandate, for instance, which requires employers with 50 or more full-time employes to pay stiff penalties if they do not provide coverage to their workers – have been delayed.
Others, though, remain in place, and Princinsky urges CPAs to be ready ahead of time for each round of implementation.
"The wait-and-see approach is not advised," he writes. "All employers should have a team of trusted advisors, such as an experienced employee benefits broker, to assist with compliance and implementation strategy."
Read Princinsky's article in its entirety, then tell us: What challenges are you facing as you try to comply with the health care law?