These UNL Extension Web pages bring together information to help Nebraska businesses understand the Affordable Care Act rules and regulations and to manage their implementation. Regardless of whether you are self-employed or if you employ a small or large number of people you can locate timely resources and information here.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law, March 23, 2010. Some mandates are already in place, more become effective January 1, 2015 and other mandates become effective in later years. Spend time now to evaluate how these changes will affect your business operation and develop a business strategy that fulfills the ACA requirements and best meets your needs for business continuation and growth.
The ACA regulations are subject to change. To have the latest information, visit this website often and talk with your advisors. You will also find the latest information at the federal ACA website: healthcare.gov.
March 5, 2014 - President Obama announced a two-year extension to the transition policy (first issued on November 14, 2013) for individual and small group health plans. The extension allows insurance companies to continue to offer non-compliant ACA policies on or before October 1, 2016. Depending on the policy year, this may extend these non-compliant insurance policies into 2017. Not all states adopted the transition relief policy, check with your insurance agent to see if your state has extended the deadline. (Source: CMS Insurance Standards Bulletin – 3/5/2014)
On March 24, Nebraska Department of Insurance again issued a Notice that Nebraska will not participate in the transition policy and all Nebraska-issued policies must comply with the ACA regulations effective 1/1/2014.
On February 10th, the Obama Administration announced a delay in the employer responsibility provision for businesses with less than 100 employees (Q&A on Final Regulations). Businesses that have 50 to 99 full-time equivalent employees now have until January 1, 2016 to comply with the mandatory insurance coverage provision or the "play or pay" provision of the ACA. For employers with 100+ FTE, they have until January 1, 2015 to comply with the mandate--announced by the Administration back on June 9, 2013. This provision also applies to employers with non-calendar-year health plans that fall into 2016.
To be eligible for the relief, an employer with 50-100 FT/FTE employees must certify that it meets the following conditions:
- Limited workforce size. Have fewer than 100 FT/FTE employees on business days during 2014.
- Maintenance of Workforce and hours of service. From 2/9/2014 to 12/31/2014, the employer may not reduce the size of its workforce or the overall hours of service of its employees in order to qualify for the transition relief (delay). If the reduction is for bona fide business reasons, the business is still eligible.
- Maintenance of previously offered health coverage. From 2/9/2014 to 12/31/2014, the employer may not eliminate or materially reduce the health coverage offered as of 2/9/2014, including less contribution toward coverage, change of terms, narrow or reduce class of employees or dependents.
SHOP online enrollment delayed until November 2014.
On November 29th, HHS announced the delay of the federal online SHOP marketplace for small businesses. It is now scheduled to open in November 2014. However, small employers with less than 50 employees may still enroll in SHOP using paper applications or by phoning the Small Employer Call Center. Instructions are available at healthcare.gov. It is recommended that small business owners work through an insurance broker or agent who offers a qualified SHOP plan and has agreed to "conduct enrollment according to HHS standards." This "direct enrollment" is similar to the process most businesses have used in previous years.
Nebraska DOI position on Noncompliance Policies.
To stem health insurance policy cancellations, President Obama announced on November 14th that individuals who have ACA noncompliant insurance policies will be able to keep their current policies into 2014 without ACA enforcement.
The Nebraska Department of Insurance issued a Notice on November 22 stating Nebraskans still need to comply with the ACA statutory provisions that requires ACA compliant health insurance policies in 2014. The notice also states that Nebraska insurance law already provides health insurance companies the option to "engage in an early policy renewal process" for current health policies effective in 2014, if they are renewed on or before December 31, 2013. Here is an article about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska's position on cancelled policies.
UPDATE: On December 19, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a Bulletin outlining options for individuals who received policy cancellations to include the purchasing of catastrophic coverage for 2014. To be eligible, individual policies must meet certain guidelines and a hardship exemption form must be filed.
Learn more about ACA
In this video, the Fedeli Group provides a summary of the Affordable Health Care Act and its sweeping health care changes affecting the individual and employer.
Information provided here is from a variety of resources managed by government agencies, professionals, organizations, and non-profits. The information is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal or state tax penalties.
There is no implied or intended endorsement by UNL Extension of any website, information, or videos provided within this website. Nor is there any implied endorsement by the creators of the information and videos used within this website to UNL Extension. Use of the information is for educational purposes only and is designed to serve as a starting point for you to further discuss your business options with an attorney, accountant, human resource (HR) consultant, or other advisor who is well-versed in the new health care regulations.
UNL Extension ACA Team
For questions or additional information, email: ACAbizNE@unl.edu
Phone: Marilyn Schlake (402.472.4138); Carroll Welte (402.374.2929); Jim Crandall (308.995.3889); Charlotte Narjes (402.472.1724)
Nebraska Rural Poll on Health Care Reform
Health Care Reform: Perceptions of Nonmetropolitan Nebraskans (Source: University of Nebraska)
Changing Employer Perspectives
In a recent online article, "How is Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Changing?" Kaiser Health News staff writer, Jay Hancock takes a looks at industry changes for employer-sponsored health insurance. Key changes include controlling rising insurance costs for the employer and shifting costs and control to employees through incentives and the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). See more options in the 50 or more category.