On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aims to expand health insurance coverage to an estimated 25 million previously uninsured Americans by changing legal requirements for individuals and employers.
For employers, the ACA represents a fundamental difference in how business owners and their employees obtain health coverage.
There are four primary changes made by the ACA:
- Individual Mandate: Requires that all Americans, with some exceptions, maintain a minimum level of health coverage or face a tax penalty.
- Employer Mandate: Requires “large employers” to offer coverage to full-time employees and their dependents or face a potential tax penalty.
- Insurance Exchanges: Creates health insurance Exchanges and provides tax credits to assist eligible individuals and small businesses with the purchase of coverage.
- Medicaid Expansion: Allows states to expand Medicaid coverage up to 138% of the federal poverty level.
Last year, more than 8 million individuals selected private health plans during the inaugural open enrollment period through the Health Insurance Marketplaces established by the ACA. Beginning in 2015, the coverage and reporting requirements of the ACA’s large employer mandate go into effect. Additionally, enrollment for individuals and small businesses through the online Marketplace is scheduled to reopen on November 15, 2014.
Floral industry business owners should review the state of their current health coverage plans and determine how best to comply with the law. The Society of American Florists is pleased to provide this information portal to assist members in complying with the ACA.