On Sept. 17, ABC joined with 20 coalition partners in sending a letter to key U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate committees urging their support for three bills that would provide small businesses with relief from rising health costs and regulatory red tape. The bills discussed in the letter include the following.
- The Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act (H.R. 1624/ S. 1099). The PACE Act would remove the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that mandates states to expand the small group definition. The PACE Act gives states the flexibility to keep the current definition of the small group market of up to 50 employees or increase it to 100 if they choose. Currently, employers with up to 50 employees participate in this small group market; however, beginning in 2016, the ACA will force employers with up to 100 employees into the small group market. This change could increase premiums by 18 percent on average.
- The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (H.R.2911/S. 1697). This bill would allow small businesses that are not subject to the employer mandate to offer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to employees for the payment of premiums or qualified medical expenses associated with insurance coverage. Beginning July 1, 2015, small businesses that do not offer a group health plan with the HRA will be fined $100 per day, per employee. That totals $36,500 per employee up to $500,000 in total, or 18 times more than the $2,000 employer mandate penalty for not providing any coverage.
- The Commonsense Reporting and Verification Act (H.R. 2712) and its Senate counterpart, the Commonsense Reporting Act (S. 1996). H.R. 2712 and S. 1996 would relieve small businesses of burdensome and time-consuming reporting requirements. New regulations under the ACA require businesses to report to the IRS very detailed and specific information about the health insurance coverage offered to employees and any potential sources of other coverage, including information the employer may not possess or even need to access except for these onerous requirements. Small businesses simply do not have the resources and personnel to dedicate to these types of time-consuming compliance matters.
To read the letter, click here for the House version and click here for the Senate version.
For more information about the ACA and its impact on employers, visit ABC’s Employer Health Care Toolkit.
To learn more about the new ACA employer reporting requirements, register for ABC’s Oct. 8 webinar.