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Obamacare Watch: Rules of reporting

In a sweeping announcement March 5, the Treasury delivered the news the business world had been waiting for: rules telling employers how they will need to track and report health care information to the IRS under the Affordable Care Act. “These are the rules,” says Michelle Neblett, director of labor and workforce policy for the National Restaurant Association. “Operators need to understand them and figure out how they impact their business.”

Despite input from the NRA and other groups, the rules are, in a word, “burdensome,” Neblett says. The Treasury rejected the groups’ proposals for a streamlined reporting process. Starting in 2015, employers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees will have to begin tracking, on a calendar-month basis, data on those workers, and possibly their spouses and dependents; and reporting must begin in 2016. “While [firms] with 50 to 99 employers have another year before they have to offer coverage, they have to put the reports in,” she adds.

Doing so could be costly. “The simplification methods the Treasury  did offer are not geared toward employers like restaurants with variable-hour workforces,” Neblett says.

The NRA is updating its Health Care Law Toolkit to reflect the new rules (members can download it for free at restaurant.org/healthcare). Restaurant operators also can talk to their attorneys or insurance brokers for more information. 

Will Obamacare mean higher premiums?

New data says two-thirds of small employers could see costs increase.

Premium ratesIncreaseDecrease
% of small employers65%35%

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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