Obamacare and Staffing – 5 Things To Know in 2015

Healthcare has seen many changes in the past few years. With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (also known as the Health Care Law or Obamacare) on March 23, 2010,  every income-earning individual currently with or without health insurance has since been required to sign up for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) approved health insurance plan or pay the tax penalty.

It feels like only yesterday that health insurance was simple and straightforward.

But now, as one Staffing Industry writer put it—“ For many, the ACA (Affordable Care Act) may feel like peeling back a never-ending onion”.

They weren’t lying.

There’s a lot to keep up with—the ACA is constantly in a state of fluctuation.

As a staffing professional, here’s what you—and your employees or independent contractors—need to know in 2015:

1. Coverage

Beginning in 2014, individuals purchasing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (or Health Care Law) have a choice of four Tier plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Bronze covers 60%, Silver 70% Gold 80% and Platinum 90% of health care expenses. For example, the Silver Tier covers 70%, which means individuals would have to pay 30% deductible and co-pay costs for that year.

2. Location

Although the Affordable Care Act applies to all states and regions, their approved plans vary in each State or region. Check with your personal or business Healthcare Advisor to see how or if that may impact your health insurance options.

3. Deadlines

According to State of Reform’s website, Obamacare enrollment is no longer starting on Oct. 1, 2015 to Dec. 15, 2015. The new CMS guidance indicates that the next Open Enrollment will start on Nov. 1, 2015 and end on Jan. 31, 2016. It is recommended that you maximize your heath savings account (HSA) regardless of whether you’re eligible for any tax credits so you can decrease your April 15th tax bill.

4. Impact on Staffing Companies

The issue facing staffing companies is their liability to provide health insurance coverage for their temps. Since 2013, strong correlations have been drawn between Obamacare and the overwhelming spike of part-time employees. Some suggest Obamacare’s regulations on healthcare coverage for full-time employees is so burdensome, some employers figured they could avoid health care costs by outsourcing employment needs to agencies. These employers, though tossing and turning in the tsunami known as Obamacare like the rest of us, knew one thing: If they hired employees through a temporary staffing agency for what they would classify as short-term assignments, the staffing agency would be responsible for employee’s health coverage. Even further, if these employees add up to 50 or more as full-time, a staffing company becomes an ALE (Applicable Large Employer) facing Obamacare’s “pay or play” mandate. (The numbers breakdown is illustrated below).

5. Impact on Internet On-Demand Staffing Companies

If Obamacare is tricky for traditional staffing agencies, Internet-based staffing companies are even more in uncharted territory. As of 2015, companies providing On-Demand staffing do not have to provide healthcare coverage for their ‘employees’. This non-traditional business model classifies workers as ‘service providers’ who are self-employed independent 1099 contractors. When signing up with these companies to offer your services, a mandatory W-9 is supplied for contractors to fill out in order to be eligible. Self-employed contractors are solely responsible for complying with Obamacare regulations.

This infographic, courtesy of akkencloud, illustrates the direct impact of Obamacare on the Staffing Industry for 2015:

Affordable Care Act infographic
Yes, it’s a lot to chew on, so here’s a “cheat sheet” of facts to remember:

-Open Enrollment will start on Nov. 1, 2015 and end on Jan. 31, 2016.

-Employees that work through a temporary staffing agency intended for short-term assignments have been presumed employees of a temporary staffing agency. As a result, agencies are responsible for offering appropriate coverage and determining whether it is subject to the employer mandate penalties.

-If a staffing agency is at 50 or 100 full-time employees or more, they are subject to Obamacare’s “pay or play” mandates.

-As of 2015, On-Demand Staffing Agencies are not responsible for their workers who are considered self-employed as independent contractors.

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