What is Obamacare?
Obamacare, or the set of federal health-care regulations contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was signed into law in 2010. It is not an insurance policy or a government-administered health-care program like Medicare. Small to mid-sized business owners are particularly impacted by the Obamacare legislation because businesses above a certain size must either insure their full-time employees or pay a fine.
Obamacare Act Summary
Obamacare is being phased in through 2020. It is designed to dramatically reduce the number of Americans lacking access to health care by making healthcare more affordable.
It prevents insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions (including smoking) and from discriminating among people of the same age and geographic location.
Most individuals who are not otherwise covered by health insurance must either buy health insurance or pay a penalty (this is known as the “individual mandate”).
Subsidies are available to low-income individuals, rendering health care free or almost free for some people.
Obamacare facilitated the creation of both state-run and federally-run healthcare exchanges to help individuals procure insurance on the open market.
Significantly, as of 2015, the employer mandate penalizes businesses that employ 50 people or more but do not offer healthcare coverage to their full-time employees (certain exceptions apply).
Pros and Cons of Obamacare
Perhaps the biggest advantage of Obamacare is its expansion of healthcare coverage to tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans, in many cases at little or no cost to the individuals. Obamacare has also resulted in an increase in private healthcare insurance providers, all of whom must meet minimum coverage requirements, and the act has eliminated many loopholes in healthcare coverage. Improved healthcare coverage can also result in indirect benefits to parties who do not directly benefit from its provisions, such as in the case of businesses that enjoy lower employee absenteeism as a result of Obamacare.
But the act also has its drawbacks. First, someone has to pay for these expanded benefits. The employer mandate and the individual mandate impose costs on businesses and individuals, respectively. Small businesses, with more than 50 employees, can be hit particularly hard by Obamacare because many small businesses would not otherwise offer health insurance to their employees. Federal subsidies are funded through higher taxes, and these taxes are levied disproportionately on high-income taxpayers. In addition, expanded health-care coverage means that many people will pay increased health care premiums, albeit in many cases receiving improved coverage.
Affordable Care Act Compliance - How A Lawyer Can Help
Whatever your personal views on Obamacare, a Priori healthcare lawyer can advise you on complying with Obamacare requirements, such as selecting an employee health care plan that meets Obamacare’s specific minimum coverage standards. In addition, a Priori lawyer can provide you with the information you need to make strategic business decisions in light of the extra cost burden that Obamacare can place on employers or can help advise you on steps to take to ensure that your business qualifies for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. A Priori healthcare lawyer can help you with Affordable Care Act compliance at rates starting at approximately $225 per hour. Priori lawyers can also craft a flat fee rate for your particular situation. In order to get a better sense of cost for your particular situation, put in a request to schedule a complimentary consultation and receive a free price quote from one of our lawyers.