Many school districts and other local governmental employers have employees working 30 hours or more per week as defined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Often these workers are not offered Health Insurance coverage. Sometimes the employer offers coverage, but does not contribute toward the premiums.
On January 1, 2014 (or when your fiscal year plan renews), the ACA mandates that large employers (over 50 full-time equivalent employees) offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to “substantially all” full-time employees or risk paying a penalty. “Substantially all” means at least 95% of full-time employees.
Failing to identify full-time employees and offering coverage, or contributing less than the ACA affordability standards may subject your organization to some steep penalties. Additionally, while you can intentionally or unintentionally exclude up to 5% based on the 95% rule, your actions cannot be done in a discriminatory fashion.
Major League Penalty: You may be subject to a $2,000 annual penalty for every full-time employee (minus the first 30 employees) if:
Minor League Penalty: You may be subject to a $3,000 annual per employee penalty if:
Please note that the $3,000 penalty may apply to only the employees who were not offered affordable coverage who qualify for tax-credit or cost-sharing assistance and purchase coverage on the public exchange.
The intention of the 95% rule is likely a safeguard in cases of miscalculation by an employer who is otherwise in compliance. Caution is advisable on reducing costs by using the 95% rule to expressly exclude coverage for otherwise-eligible full-time employees. Even a slight miscalculation could trigger a very large penalty.
What should you do?
It is recommended that you complete this analysis as soon as possible and make the necessary changes to your employment practices now. Once the mandates take effect, it will be more difficult to avoid penalties by making changes at that time.
For more information on the 95% rule, download: Health Care Reform: FAQs on the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions. Or to view the IRS publication on this issue, visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Questions-and-Answers-on-Employer-Shared-Responsibility-Provisions-Under-the-Affordable-Care-Act.