5 Things Corporate Counsel Need to Know About Obamacare

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on July 02, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, may lead to a long list of legal questions for corporations.

How should you advise your corporate clients about the best ways to proceed, especially regarding the ACA's employer mandate?

Here are 5 things that corporate counsel need to know about the High Court's Obamacare ruling:

  1. Most corporations must comply with the employer mandate, but not all. The Affordable Care Act's mandate only applies to corporations with at least 50 "full-time" employees, according to the Health and Human Services Department. "Full-time" means at least 30 hours a week.

  2. Options for employee health-care coverage must comply with existing reforms. Corporations that fall under the ACA's mandate must offer employee health-insurance plans that meet the new standards for such plans. That includes coverage for pre-existing conditions, and coverage of dependents until age 26, among other provisions.

  3. Compliance may cost more than non-compliance. Failure to comply with the Affordable Care Act's mandate results in a tax of $2,000 per employee, beyond the first 30 employees. Only 2% of employers will have to pay these assessments, according to HHS. Still, some small and mid-sized businesses may find it more cost-effective to just pay the tax.

  4. Employers have new IRS reporting requirements. Corporations will have to report the total cost of group health insurance on W-2s. This reporting is for informational purposes only, to provide employees with greater transparency into health-care costs.

  5. Legal battles aren't over yet. Some religious- and faith-based employers like Catholic hospitals are challenging new rules that require all employers to pay for birth control and other procedures. As more rules are written, additional legal challenges are likely, the Boston Herald reports.

You can read the entire Supreme Court Affordable Care Act decision at FindLaw's Courtside blog.

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