ACA

affordable care act ACA - PayReel

Here’s what 2019 holds for the ACA

Here’s what 2019 holds for the ACA 5570 3714 Heidi McLean

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is making the news again as a coalition of the Trump administration and GOP-led states are appealing courts to take it down completely.

What’s at stake?

It depends on who you ask.

Many believe that the ACA lands squarely in the land of government overreach. Additionally, the act has its share of problems. Despite President Obama’s assertion otherwise, some people did lose coverage they liked. According to this article, many healthy people also saw “their premiums and out-of-pocket costs soar.” The same article identifies the “hardest hit” as those “who earn just slightly too much to qualify for federal premium subsidies.”

Without the ACA, this USAToday article predicts drug prices will soar and rural care will suffer. Additionallythis article points to concerns about the 21 million people who are at risk of losing coverage, including those with preexisting conditions. For his part, President Trump tweeted his assertion that “Republicans will always support Pre-Existing Conditions” and that a replacement plan “will be on full display during the Election as a much better & less expensive alternative to Obamacare.”

Remind me about that penalty

It’s gone. While proponents of the penalty for not having health insurance say it’s a large part of making the ACA work, Congress declared the penalty unconstitutional in 2017. The new ruling goes into effect in 2019. That means taxpayers can go without healthcare or explore alternative options without seeing a ding on their tax bill starting next year.

How can employers prepare for the changes?

In the Fall of 2018, the Trump administration provided new ways for states to provide alternatives to the Affordable Care Act. So far, no states have taken the offer. Still, under new proposed rules, it’s not out of the question that employers may be able to stop offering group health care in the future. According to this article, the option could make way for employers to offer “employee health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) for purchasing individual health insurance instead of providing group health coverage.”   

While there is virtually no limit to speculation about what lies ahead, there’s no need to jump into action prematurely. Even though it’s a hot topic and a political lightning rod, many analystsincluding those at Littler, our go-to on subjects like thesedon’t expect to see many significant changes in the near future.

Don’t mistake that prediction for a free pass to ignore the subject though. Political persuasions aside, the passing of the Affordable Care Act represented a major overhaul of the United States’ healthcare system. The question of how to move forward continues—whether the bill itself remains in some form or gets dismantled. One thing is certain: This debate isn’t going anywhere and the consequences of every decision are vast.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

 

 

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Open enrollment ends Friday. Are you ready?

Open enrollment ends Friday. Are you ready? 3543 2362 Heidi McLean

While its future is uncertain, the healthcare marketplace is still up and running for now. So if you rely on the Affordable Care Act for your coverage, it’s time to get busy. We are now within the final hours of open enrollment for the healthcare marketplace.

 

Here are some answers to common questions:

  1. What if I already get my insurance through my employer? No need to read on. You’re good!
  2. What if I like my plan? If you’re already enrolled in a plan, haven’t had any major life changes (such as a pregnancy or a change in income), you can keep your plan. You don’t even need to log in.
  3. What if I have Medicaid coverage? You’re all set. Enjoy the rest of your day.
  4. What if I have coverage through my spouse’s plan? See ya later.
  5. Can I still get a subsidy if I have healthcare insurance through an existing employer? Maybe. Go to healthcare.gov and see if your income qualifies you for a healthcare subsidy. This could lower your cost for coverage. You can also use this calculator to estimate possible subsidies.
  6. What if I know I need to make a change and have been dragging my feet? If none of the above applies to you, it’s time to go shopping. Head to healthcare.gov and follow the instructions.
  7. How are rates determined? Plans come in four different levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Some freelancers report being pleasantly surprised by the prices they’ve found in the marketplace, while other folks have used some pretty colorful language to describe the experience.Rates are unique to each person and vary based on factors such as where you live, how much income you bring in, and how many family members you have.
  8. How long do I have left? This year’s deadline is December 15th.
  9. What if the website takes forever to load? Especially near deadlines, the marketplace websites have been known to be overloaded, causing frustrating delays. If this happens, you may have better luck on the phone. Call 1-800-318-2596.

 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have customer service agents on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

 

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Implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Contingent Workers

Implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Contingent Workers 760 653 PayReel

Implementing the Affordable Care Act is challenging for any business, but for those who must provide insurance for temporary employees, it’s a real pain in the ACA.

Below are three of the biggest challenges (plus one solution to them all):

1) Interpreting and Following the Rules

Balancing a complex law like the Affordable Care Act with internal corporate legal policies is a trick. Throw in the chaos of the production world and things get borderline unmanageable. The laws are not uniform across states and jurisdictions, and like most things related to contract workers, are usually less than crystal clear.

2) Tracking Who Is Eligible and Who Will Be Soon

Non-variable employees get one set of benefits and variable employees get a separate set of benefits if they work 30+ hours a week on average. Monitoring when variable workers are getting close to eligibility and what exactly they’ll be eligible for requires time and/or specialized software.

3) Human Relations

The Affordable Care Act is constantly in the news and has people wondering what they are entitled to. Companies who don’t proactively communicate will lose credibility among employees. And, with healthcare becoming mandatory for certain employees, companies have the opportunity to leverage their benefits program into a competitive recruiting advantage if it’s done right.

Solution:

With high-maintenance laws such as the ACA, specialized knowledge is a must, but an internal department for managing all of its complexities isn’t always feasible or cost-effective.

In these cases, a third-party service provider with the right experience can take all of the confusion out of providing insurance for temporary employees. The right provider will expertly handle the pressure of monitoring project-based workers and notifying the company who is going to be eligible soon, what to do once they are, and what the cost will be.

Having a proven system in place and proactively addressing these issues increases trust among employees and reassures them their company is on top of it. And happy employees are productive employees.

Still confused, or interested in learning more about how to manage ACA requirements? We’d love to hear from you.

About PayReel:

PayReel’s clients, who are some of the biggest companies in the world, are constantly immersed in the chaos of producing multimedia content or executing live events. PayReel makes sure they have the right contractors at the right time in the right place, and that everyone gets paid properly. And, most importantly, they handle every last detail perfectly while making sure their clients think nothing of it, so they can get back to doing what they do best.

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Supreme Court Favors ACA: Businesses Still Have Compliance Questions

Supreme Court Favors ACA: Businesses Still Have Compliance Questions 1000 667 PayReel

Today, the Supreme Court ruled: Key elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) stand.

Immediately, this SCOTUS ruling means:

Their paying customers are protected and healthcare and hospital stocks have soared.

Democrats are breathing a big sigh of relief with President Obama saying, “The ACA is here to stay.”

With no proposed alternative in place, Republicans reportedly “noisily outraged and quietly relieved.”

Long term, we still have some questions:

Companies who employ contract employees and the custom staffing industry (who have been through the wringer in an effort to comply with the ever-evolving ACA) still have some fundamental administrative concerns we need definitively addressed so we can comply with the act and reduce burden:

Basically, anything that plays into eligibility needs to be defined clearly, including:

1. How exactly do we define full time versus part-time and variable hour workers versus non-variable hour workers

This is one of the most important determinations because full-timers become eligible for coverage. The house proposed changing the definition of full time from 30 to 40 hours a week and bills are being launched all the time to change things.

Similarly, the government has defined a variable hour worker in this way, “An employee is a variable hour employee if, based on the facts and circumstances at the date the employee begins providing services to the employer (the start date), it cannot be determined that the employee is reasonably expected to work on average at least 30 hours per week.”

Can we count on these definitions to be solid? If not, when can we?

2. Clarify what constitutes a break in service: 

The break in service guidelines also affects eligibility. We define a break in service as 13 weeks, but there are some who wonder if it’s 26 weeks. What exactly is the break in service rules and are they apt to change?

3. How will the election year affect us? 

We can only guess. Here are our predictions.

This is last in our series on the ACA and the contingent workforce. Our first three covered lessons from the first five years, what we can expect from the next five years, and our predictions for the election year.

About PayReel

PayReel’s clients, who are some of the biggest companies in the world, are constantly immersed in the chaos of producing multimedia content or executing live events. PayReel makes sure they have the right contractors at the right time in the right place, and that everyone gets paid properly. And, most importantly, they handle every last detail perfectly while making sure their clients think nothing of it, so they can get back to doing what they do best.

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ACA & The Election Year

ACA & The Election Year 4272 2848 PayReel

There’s not a hotter topic for those in the custom staffing industry than the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It affects everything from hiring independent contractors to budget management. We, along with our corporate clients and independent contractors, are largely affected by every detail, regulation, and modification of the law.

For this reason, we’re tuned in to what happens in DC. When both houses of Congress went Republican, we had the very real question of whether they would repeal the ACA. And not long ago, many also wondered if a Republican White House in 2016 could result in a decisive repeal.

But with over 10 million people enrolled, repeal no longer seems realistic. Regardless of politics, nobody wants to turn on the news and see a story about a politician removing a terminally ill patient from their hospital room. Too many people are benefitting and it would be impossible to ignore the stories.

While we don’t see repeal as a huge threat in the short term, it is realistic to anticipate intense new regulations that could chip away at the act and render it unrecognizable (like the Social Security Act and Voting Rights Act before it).

Whatever direction the White House goes in 2016, it will have HUGE effects. Businesses with contract employees will need to be especially nimble and the software will need to remain flexible.

We can only act on what we know. What we cant do is ignore it and hope it goes away. If we put our heads in the sand, we’ll just end up with stuffed noses and scratchy eyes.

This is the third in a series:

We’ve already covered lessons from the first five years and what we can expect from the next five years. Next will be the fundamental questions we still need to be answered.

About PayReel

PayReel’s clients, who are some of the biggest companies in the world, are constantly immersed in the chaos of producing multimedia content or executing live events. PayReel makes sure they have the right contractors at the right time in the right place, and that everyone gets paid properly. And, most importantly, they handle every last detail perfectly while making sure their clients think nothing of it, so they can get back to doing what they do best.

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ACA: Businesses & The Next Five Years

ACA: Businesses & The Next Five Years 500 500 PayReel

1. The Dust Is Settling, But We Still Have Some Challenges

The American Staffing Association (ASA) has worn out the road to DC. Lobbyists have played a big part in cluing DC into the reality of where the Affordable Care Act (ACA) doesn’t accommodate those with nonconventional work arrangements, such as independent contractors and freelancers. These are the workers our world is increasingly made of—folks who may work full time this week, not at all next, and then full time again the week after.

Though we do still have some challenges to work through, the ASA has been a much-needed voice for the custom staffing industry. They’re getting the rules straightened out and it’s working (somebody please send them some flowers).

2. There is HOPE for Automated Eligibility Tracking

As the dust settles, automation has become more feasible. The frequent changes to the act, in its infancy, made automatic tracking problematic. Now that there’s some stability in the guidelines for contingent workers, we’ll be able to add this capability into our arsenal of HR tools.

3. Effects on Costs Still Unclear

With low participation rates to date, there hasn’t been a lot of money on the line. Yet. Penalties for individuals who don’t comply have been minimal. As these get stiffer, we expect participation will increase. As participation increases, administrative costs will, too. This time next year, they could conceivably double.

4. Still Not Sure How To Pay For It

However the costs increase, they’ll be across the board because we’re all bound by the same law. Some clients are struggling because they don’t fully grasp how the ACA could affect their budgets and add to their overall labor costs. The best way we’ve found to think about it is that it’s very similar to managing the cost of worker’s comp.

With a tepid economic recovery, what amounts to another labor tax has been hard for some clients to swallow. Some have said they will only pay a certain additional amount for ACA, and unless someone blinks, it’ll be standing room only at the OK Corral. Meanwhile, a fortunate few increased their budget for contingent labor and are happy that it’s going to cost them less than they may have anticipated.

At PayReel, we will comply with the new law both in letter and spirit. Therefore, we’ve decided we won’t be party to efforts that attempt to manipulate freelancers’ hours to stay just below ACA eligibility.

We’ll do what businesses do best—figure out how to adjust to new business realities.

Note: We covered our lessons from the first five years in our last post. Next, we covered our predictions for the election year. Finally, we’ll soon post which questions we still need to be answered even as the dust is settling. 

About PayReel

PayReel’s clients, who are some of the biggest companies in the world, are constantly immersed in the chaos of producing multimedia content or executing live events. PayReel makes sure they have the right contractors at the right time in the right place, and that everyone gets paid properly. And, most importantly, they handle every last detail perfectly while making sure their clients think nothing of it, so they can get back to doing what they do best.