Affordable Care Act’s Effects

The Naperville Park District has started to take a look at how the Affordable Care Act will impact the organization. If the law went into effect today the district would take a heavy financial hit.

“My last analysis, because I’ve been doing this monthly, is 35 additional people,” said Katie Sepe, Director of Human Resources for Naperville Park District. “I took a look at what our current PPO premium is and I assumed a seven percent increase, and the concurrent contribution level that we have.

We’re talking about an additional $320,000 if we had to hit the ground running come January one of 2014.”

But they’ll have an extra year, because the employer mandate has been pushed back to 2015.

That part of the law will require businesses with 50 or more full time equivalent employees to offer health care coverage.

Under the guidelines any employee who works an average of 30 hours per week or more over the course of a year is considered a full time worker.

This presents a unique problem for the Park District that employs over 1,000 seasonal workers, some of whom would be considered full time under the law.

“I think that what we’re really going to need to do is reevaluate our employment structure,” said Sepe. “We’re going to have to put a lot of thought into hiring decisions, and whether we are hiring someone who will work those 30 hours a week, or if we need to have more part time staff for those needs.”

Healthcare reform has been a major talking point for businesses spurring educational forums, like one recently held at Aurora University.
Lisa Carlson works for Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. helping clients make sure their companies are complying with the law, and the ACA presents new challenges.

“It’s very difficult from a compliance standpoint there is just thousands and thousands pages of law. And there’s also a lot yet that hasn’t been regulated,” said Carlson. “So employers are really stuck between a rock and a hard place.

There’s a ton of information that they need to comply with and they don’t have the resources to do so.”
While most employers are relieved they have another year to figure it all out Carlson advises that just because the mandate has been pushed back doesn’t mean employers are off the hook for 2014.

“There are still going to be plan provisions. In 2014 no plan can have a pre-existing exclusion, there’s a waiting period of no more than 90 days. No plan can have an out of pocket maximum that exceeds the high deductible maximums that the government issues,” explained Sepe.

There is one deadline coming up that all businesses will have to meet by October 1, 2014. All employers must notify their workers of the option to purchase healthcare through the state exchanges.

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