ACA Compliance: Put That Time Back into Business

ACA Compliance: Put That Time Back into Business
January 06 10:41 2017 Print This Article

As a small business owner or manager, what would you say is the biggest burden on your HR department in terms of time? If you said ACA compliance, you would probably not be alone. Businesses are investing an exorbitant amount of time attempting to comply with the nation’s healthcare laws as a result of the employer mandate. How much time may actually surprise you.

According to an Aberdeen Group survey of some 179 companies, just 36% of the respondents invested fewer than 100 hours on ACA compliance last year. Another 34% said the time invested was somewhere between 101 and 500 hours. Even more interesting:

  • 15% claimed between 501 and 1000 hours invested
  • 5% claimed more than 1,000 hours invested.

When you work all the numbers, it turns out that the average amount of time employers spend on ACA compliance is about 315 hours annually. That is a lot of time that could be put into other parts of your business.

The Finer Points of Compliance

If any law is to actually have teeth, there has to be means in place to enforce it. Where the ACA is concerned, the means of enforcement is one of mandating employers to provide detailed and accurate information about their health insurance plans and who qualifies among their employees. This presents a two-part problem for employers.

First is understanding whether a business is actually required by law to offer health insurance. Most are, but there are exceptions to the rule. So companies have to know and understand what constitutes a qualifying employer. Once the need for compliance has been established, the second challenge arises: aggregating all the data necessary for proper reporting.

The second challenge is the one employers tend to find most difficult. It may be hard to believe, but the task of aggregating data for ACA compliance can be more difficult than aggregating similar data for tax withholding and filing. The problem with ACA compliance is that the regulations are very complex and constantly changing. It can be very difficult for employers to keep abreast of regulatory changes while still meeting reporting deadlines.

Hiring a Compliance Specialist

It would seem that the complexities of ACA compliance would prompt more companies not currently working with a specialist to do so. For example, companies contracting their payroll needs to Dallas-based BenefitMall get full support for ACA compliance. BenefitMall handles all the data aggregation and necessary reporting. Unfortunately, what would seem to be an obvious ACA compliance solution for small businesses does not translate into reality.

The Aberdeen Group survey indicated that just 15% of the respondents not currently contracted with payroll services offering ACA compliance had plans to change that for 2017. That means 85% will continue to address ACA compliance in-house. Some will do so by adopting new technology, others will hire additional staff members, and others might even look to advice from consultants.

Is your small business struggling with ACA compliance? If so, how do you plan to deal with it for 2017? Even if the new Congress and administration keep their promise to repeal and replace, your company will still have to prove compliance for the 2016 calendar year in your filings due in just a few months. Furthermore, repeal and replacement efforts are likely to introduce even more complexities while the federal government seeks a long-term solution – which will take time.

Contracting with a company such as BenefitMall is the easiest and most cost-effective way for maintaining ACA compliance. As an added benefit, you get full payroll services to boot.

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