The new mandates that come as part of the Affordable Care Act have had an impact on job growth, hiring practices, wages, and the costs of healthcare for consumers. The law has its critics, some of which point to a loss of jobs as a result of Obamacare’s implementation.
That criticism isn’t entirely valid, yet it’s also not completely incorrect. It’s true that there are some very discernible pros and cons when it comes to jobs and the Affordable Care Act. There has been some job loss as a result of the changing cost of health insurance, but there have also been great strides made in supporting job increases while making sure that all employees are fully covered under their employer.
Obamacare brings with it specific requirements for certain companies to provide healthcare coverage to their workforce. However, there are also exemptions that employers are using to avoid the higher costs and mandates for protections under the law.
Full-Time vs. Part-Time
The Affordable Care Act features something called an “employer mandate” which requires any company who employs 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) workers must offer healthcare coverage to no fewer than 95% of that workforce along with their dependents aged 26 or younger. Any company that does not comply with this mandate will face a penalty fee.
The mandate has had an unintended effect with companies cutting down the hours of their full-time staff in order to qualify them as part-time employees. This would make the company exempt from paying for their employees’ healthcare.
That’s not to suggest that every firm has engaged in this practice, as there are a number of companies that have done the opposite and promoted their part-time staff to full-time so that they may be eligible to receive healthcare coverage through the company.
Employer Shared Responsibility Provision
The employer mandate that every qualifying company must abide by is found in the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision of the Affordable Care Act. The provision lays out the responsibility that federal and state governments, insurance companies, employers, and individuals all share in providing higher quality and greater access to health insurance in the United States. In order to meet these goals, the employer mandate lays out very clear requirements for employers and individuals alike to ensure they have minimum sufficient coverage as defined by Obamacare.
Companies with 100 or more workers who qualify under FTE must insure a minimum of 95% of their workers. Any company under 49 FTE workers is exempt. Those companies that fail to meet the minimum standards will face a fine that can vary based on the number of employees who are left uncovered and the type of insurance that is offered.
Just because a company offers health insurance does not mean an employee is bound to accept that coverage for a policy. Those individuals may still seek alternative coverage in the health insurance marketplace or other avenues that provide suitable policies that adhere with the standards for minimum sufficient coverage as per the Affordable Care Act.