Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services shows that 31 million Americans now receive their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. This number is a record high, and as the labor market continues to shift after the COVID-19 pandemic, experts predict that number will grow even higher.
The ACA has come under constant fire from lawmakers. There have been changes made since its implementation, and as an employer, you need to stay up to date.
Before the ACA became law, the most famous recent push for a universal health care plan came The Health Care Task Force formulated the Health Security Act. On March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act became law. The first state-run marketplaces launched in the autumn of 2014.
What Is the ACA?
The goal of the ACA is to provide Americans with health insurance at a lower price regardless of a person's current health. One of the landmark changes in the act made it illegal for private insurance companies to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. Because of the ACA, health insurance companies can no longer deny applicants based on their medical history.
The ACA also places an expectation on large employers to provide affordable insurance to their employees. Employers are now required to report their health insurance information to the federal government.
People buy insurance through state-run exchanges. They're able to compare prices and enroll in a new plan each year. All ACA-compliant plans must also include specific services, as well as preventative care at no cost.
Low-income individuals buying health insurance through their state's marketplace receive premium tax credits as well as cost-sharing reductions to help pay for deductibles and copays.
Applicable Large Employers
An Applicable Large Employer (ALE) is a designation for large companies in the ACA law. According to the law, an ALE is a company with over 50 full-time employees, and these ALE's must offer health insurance as an employee benefit.
Should they not, they face a fine per full-time employee. Because of this requirement, ALE's must submit ACA reporting to the IRS each year. Employees are not mandated to enroll in the offered insurance, but to avoid fines, ALE's must show they at least offer health insurance to 95% of their employees.
If you're a large company, ACA software is available to ensure your compliance with the IRS.
Recent Changes to the ACA
There have been changes to the law employers and citizens should note.
Individual Mandate Repeal
This 2018 tax bill contained a provision to end the individual mandate that required citizens to enroll in a health insurance plan.
Medicaid expansion was a vital piece of the original ACA legislation. Under the law, the Federal Government covered costs to states that expanded their Medicaid eligibility.
This change allowed states to require work requirements to the ACA process. States can force those who receive expanded Medicaid benefits to find work.
Recent Supreme Court Ruling
On June 17, 2021, the US Supreme Court rebuffed the most recent challenge to ACA law by a 7-2 majority.
This ruling all but ends more challenges to the constitutionality of the ACA and ensures it will be the law for years to come.
The History of the Affordable Care Act
Due to our government structure, changes to the ACA will occur every two and four years. As each party wrestles for a majority, the history of the Affordable Care Act remains incomplete.
Because of these changes, you must keep your company in compliance. Points North offers employers like you the latest ACA reporting software to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.
Contact us today for help navigating ACA law.