photo credit: Walmart Corporate via photopin cc

photo credit: Walmart Corporate via photopin cc

As we get closer to January 2015 and the implementation of the employer mandate, we’re seeing more items surrounding the Affordable Care Act surfacing across the country.  We remind our members that the effective date for the employer mandate, which had been delayed several times, is now January 1, 2015 meaning that employers with 100 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalents (FTEs) must offer insurance to at least 70% of those employees or pay proscribed penalties.  It is not mandatory for smaller employers until 2016.  For those employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalents, you should be able to enroll your small business entirely online through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) beginning on November 15, 2014.   More information on the implementation of the employer mandate is available on the healthcare.gov website.  Although the Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land, how different businesses plan to comply with its requirements is still wide open.  Consider that a number of the country’s major retail giants including Wal-mart, Target and Home Depot, among others have stopped offering health insurance coverage to their part-time employees.  Still others have trimmed costs by eliminating certain aspects of coverage (spouses, family coverage, etc) available to their part-time workforce.  In Los Angeles, a number of high-end restaurants have added a 3% health care surcharge to their bills to cover the additional costs of providing health insurance to their employees. This follows in the wake of many San Francisco restaurants charging a healthcare surcharge since 2008 when the City by the Bay mandated health insurance coverage.  We’re sure there’ll be more to come.