This morning, about 150 business people sat eagerly awaiting advice and news on how their businesses can stay compliant in the midst of challenging regulations that have been imposed as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
These are regulations that Charles Bruder, co-chair, executive compensation and employee benefits group of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus in Allentown said some small businesses will have a hard time getting through, with limited time, money and manpower.
“I’m concerned for small businesses,” said Bruder, who was one of this morning’s panelists at the 2015 Health Care Summit, of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s health care committee. “The amount of time and resources they [small businesses] will need will make it difficult to do.”
Attendees at this morning’s event, at Lehigh Country Club in Salisbury Township, sat through two panel discussions from local legislators and industry professionals, who reassured the crowd that there are many resources and preparatory ways to handle the compliance issues that businesses are facing. Both discussions were moderated by chamber president Tony Iannelli.
“We wanted to raise awareness,” Anne Baum, vice president, Lehigh Valley for Capital BlueCross and a member of the chamber’s health care committee, said this morning. “Making sure business owners have this on their radar. Our goal was to get information out there that this is important, it’s been coming, and it’s here.”
On the first panel were state representatives Gary Day, R-Lehigh/Berks and Mike Schlossberg, D-Allentown, who talked about ways in which the state works to pass legislation pertaining to the health care. Day pointed out to the crowd that of the many bullet points to review in a piece of legislation before it is passed, he said it is important for citizens to voice their opinion if one of those points is important to them.
“Tell us,” Day told the attendees. “To help us understand the impact.”
On the second panel, in addition to Bruder was Joe Scott, president and CEO of Easton Coach Co.; Mitch Geiger, vice president, regulatory compliance, benefit services at PrimePay.
The men discussed the importance of filing ACA regulatory forms on time, and mentioned the importance of treating those filings as if they were tax returns.
In January, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees will not only have to provide the traditional W-2 to their employees, but under IRS sections 6055-6056, employers are required by Feb. 1 to provide employees with an IRS form 1095C. The form acts as a health care W-2 that the employee will use to file his taxes – as proof that his employer is providing health care coverage.
In addition, businesses have to submit an employer transmittal form – to report to the federal government exactly what insurance they are providing, and to what employees they are providing it. If filing by paper it is due Feb. 29. If filing electronically, it is due March 31.
Bruder said in the first year or so of the regulations, the government might be a bit more lenient with businesses, but after that he said he sees it getting tougher.
“Going forward we are going to see some pretty strict compliances,” he said.