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Many companies have heard all the chatter about the changes to the healthcare system under the Affordable Care Act, but really haven’t had the time to figure out what the changes mean to them as an employer. After all, something entitled the “Affordable Care Act” should really just focus on dealing with the out of control costs of medicine and healthcare, right? Oh, if only it were that simple.

One of the biggest issues in healthcare is simply that many people can’t afford the cost of insurance. Additionally, a number of employers do not provide insurance benefits as a part of employment. The ACA attempts to address this problem. Of course, this is not the only issue addressed under the ACA, but for employers, it is one of the major concerns.

The ACA obligations on employers are implemented in stages. The first obligation is already in effect. This requires employers who provide “applicable employer sponsored coverage” to report the aggregate cost of the employer sponsored coverage on an employee’s Form W-2 for the 2012 year. This means the Form W-2 that is issued in January for the prior year, should reflect the cost of coverage under any group health plan made available to the employee by the employer, and which cost is excludable from the employee’s gross income, or would be excludable if it were employer provided coverage. The reportable premium is not impacted by whether the employer or employee bears the cost of the premium. There is a special rule for self-insured plans. If you have a self-insured plan, you should seek guidance on the proper calculations of the applicable premiums. If an employer is required to file fewer than 250 Form W-2s, then they are not subject to this reporting requirement. More information on this requirement can be found in IRS Notice 2012-9. (Specifically, starting on page 6.)

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About the Editor

Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.

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