It has been three years since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act began, and the effect on business owners is beginning to take shape. Many small businesses are still exempt from its regulations based on the number of full-time employees, but they are still being impacted.

All small businesses do not have to provide health care

The regulations in the Affordable Care Act apply to businesses with 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees or greater. If your business does not employ more than 50 people full time, you are not required to provide health care. However, as an employer, you are required to provide information to your employees about health care options, per the Fair Standards in Labor Act (FSLA). The Department of Labor website explains, “Employers must provide a notice of coverage options to each employee, regardless of plan enrollment status [if applicable] or of part-time or full-time status. Employers are not required to provide a separate notice to dependents or other individuals who are or may become eligible for coverage under the plan but who are not employees.”

Your business can now receive tax credits

One of the big criticisms of the Affordable Care Act was that it could cause financial trouble for small business owners. On many occasions, small business owners found themselves paying more money for health plans. According to Illinois Health Matters, “Now, close to 200,000 small Illinois businesses may be eligible under the Affordable Care Act for tax credits to help them provide employer-sponsored coverage.” To see your potential tax credits, make an appointment with a tax attorney.

More employees are enrolled in plans

One benefit of the Affordable Care Act is that more people appear to be enrolled in plans. The National Conference of State Legislatures states, “As of May 2015, approximately 85,000 Americans have 2015 coverage through the SHOP marketplaces through approximately 10,700 small employers.” With more employees having coverage, it is possible that they are going to the doctor more frequently, which could cut down on average sick days.

Like other large pieces of legislation, the kinks of Obamacare are still being ironed out. While the ACA is far from perfect, lawmakers appear to be listening to the concerns of businesses and making accommodations to keep health care affordable and available.

This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger for Small Business Pulse
For more tips and inspiration for small business owners, visit Small Business Pulse Chicago.


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