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Updated Information on the Affordable Care Act

Posted Dec 27, 2013 08:35 PM
Thanks to action by the U.S. Treasury Department, nonprofits in Washington can apply for tax credits to help pay for up to 50 percent of their employees’ health insurance premium. Until the change was made the tax credit was only available to qualifying organizations in the two counties in Washington with an active SHOP program.

The following update about the Affordable Health Care Act was added on December 27, 2013:

Extension in January Coverage Date: Since October 1, 2013, 176,000 people across Washington state have signed up for health care coverage from the WA Health Benefits Exchange. Often this coverage is more affordable and more comprehensive than what was available in the past, as the result of the Affordable Care Act.

While Washington's state's enrollment process has gone fairly smoothly, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has extended the enrollment deadline for any Washington resident who started an application before the Dec. 23 cutoff date but was unable to complete the application due to computer errors. The Exchange will modify the eligibility and enrollment date of applications affected by errors so that coverage can begin on Jan. 1. Anyone impacted by this problem has until Jan. 15 to pick a plan and pay for it. For more information, see this notice.

Tax Credits for Nonprofits Thanks to action by the U.S. Treasury Department, nonprofits and other small businesses in Washington State can apply for tax credits to help pay for up to 50 percent of their employees’ health insurance premium. Until the change was made the small business tax credit was only available to qualifying organizations and businesses in the two counties in Washington with an active SHOP program. Now, organizations that meet the federal guidelines can receive a tax credit to help with the cost of providing health insurance to their employees – even if they purchase the plan outside of the Exchange. Learn more.

Information from October 2013:

Are you ready for the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that employers inform employees of their healthcare options by October 1, 2013. This notice must be sent to employees electronically, or by first class mail. For employees hired after October 1, 2013, employers must provide the notice within 14 days of an employee's start date.

Regardless of whether you offer healthcare coverage, you are obligated to provide information to your employees about the law and refer them to www.wahealthplanfinder.org, the online marketplace for health benefits. Follow these Employer Notice Requirements.

Draft model notices are provided by the Department of Labor (DOL). The notices must be customized by the employer to reflect information specific to their organization. If you are an employer who does not offer a health care plan, you will need to use this notice. If you do provide a healthcare plan to some or all of your employees, use this version of the notice.

Navigating healthcare reform for nonprofits

If you are a nonprofit that currently offers healthcare coverage, or will be starting to offer coverage, you need to understand your options. 501 Commons offers a number of resources for nonprofits to learn more, including our recent webinar, Navigating Healthcare Reform.

Hot topics in nonprofit healthcare coverage

Tax credits for small employers
If you have fewer than 25 employees and provide coverage, check to see if you are eligible for up to 35% in tax credits for the premiums you pay for your employees' health insurance. (For more information, see the Council of Nonprofits' resources on the small employer health care tax credit or the calculator at Taxpayer Advocate).

Impacts on federal subsidy eligibility
Employees and their dependents offered a health plan by their employers will not be eligible for the federal premium subsidies in 2014. Note: Eligibility for Apple Health, our state’s Medicaid program, is not impacted by the offer of coverage. Currently over 50% of children in Washington are eligible for Apple Health, and it will now be available to more adults, including low-income adults without children.

Because providing coverage could create a disadvantage for some employees, this is a big issue to consider. Impacts will vary for each organization, but some may reconsider providing coverage to employees if a large proportion of employees are lower income and eligible for subsidies.

Here are some examples of how the federal subsidies work:

  • Two people, both 30 years old, making $55,000 a year would be eligible for a premium subsidy of $1,626 or 24% of the example premium cost.
  • An adult, age 30, with one child and an income of $35,000 would be eligible for a premium subsidy of $2,823, which covers 53% of the overall premium.

You can model various income levels and family sizes by using the Kaiser Family Foundation Interactive Subsidy Calculator.

As you make your decisions, it is important to remember that employer support for health care coverage is a factor in attracting and retaining talented staff members.

Five ways to get more information

  1. Stay current with the latest ACA news: follow our blog, and subscribe to our newsletter
  2. Check out the Council of Nonprofits’ Affordable Care Act FAQs for additional information on the ACA and nonprofits
  3. If you're looking for additional human resources help, check out our other HR Services
  4. Got a specific question? Get an affordable Quick HR Consult. You pay only $25 for 15 minutes. More in-depth consultation services are also available.
  5. It’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare broker, like Sam Davidson at Kibble and Prentice or Nick King atSprague Israel and Giles, to learn more about choices for your organization