On June 28, 2012 in a decision that surprised many, the Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), oftentimes referred to as “Obamacare”. In Massachusetts, which served as the model for the federal plan, many employers are asking “What does this mean for us?”
The answer, at least for now is that little will change. Under both Massachusetts law and the federal law (barring repeal) these components remain fairly consistent at both levels of government. Both pieces of legislation address the following in a similar fashion:
- Individual Mandates
- Premium Subsidies
- Insurance Exchanges (referred to as the “Connector” in Massachusetts)
- Insurance Market Reforms
Employer responsibility to offer health insurance is also required under both plans. However in Massachusetts, employers who have 11 or more employees must provide health insurance access with some level of employer contribution. The federal mandate calls for employers with more than 50 employees to participate. The federal law, when enacted, will not change the current requirements for Massachusetts employers. What enactment of PPACA does mean for Massachusetts employers is that they will be able to take advantage of the tax credits that will be afforded to small businesses.
This credit is extended to those businesses who partner with a PEO. What is important for the business owner to know is that all businesses operating in Massachusetts with 11 or more employees are required by law to file a Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) Form.
Businesses who partner with PEOs should confirm with their PEO to ensure that the form has been filed with the Commonwealth on their behalf.