Affordable Care Act 101 Small-Business Tips

9 tips to ensure you comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act


The Affordable Care Act has been in part been in place since 2010. There are, however, changes that have taken place since its inception. As a result, you should be aware of them to avoid potential penalties.

As most employers know by now, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), which was enacted in 2010, set forth a number of health-insurance reforms. The changes already in effect include, for example, expanding coverage for young adults on their parents’ policies to age 26 and implementing limits on pre-existing condition exclusions.

Depending on whether you’re an employer with fewer than 25 employees, fewer than 50 or more than 50, different requirements of the ACA may apply to you. Unfortunately, the applicable regulations and deadlines are continually being changed, making it confusing for all employers to understand their obligations.

All employers, therefore, are encouraged to visit or for information about which provisions may apply to them.

ACA Tips

In the meantime, here are nine helpful ACA tips for small-business owners:

1. All employers, both big and small, and whether or not the employer offers health insurance, must provide new employees with a Notice of Coverage Options. This requirement is in effect now. Employers can obtain a sample at

2. If you have fewer than 25 employees, you’re exempt from the penalties imposed on larger employers for not offering healthcare coverage. You also may qualify for tax credits that may make it affordable for you to offer coverage to your employees. For more information, visit

3. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you’re exempt from the penalties imposed on larger employers for not offering healthcare coverage.

4. If you employed an average of at least 50 fulltime employees during the preceding calendar year, your business might be subject to a penalty called the “Employer Shared Responsibility Payment.” This penalty will apply to your business if at least one employee qualifies to save money on monthly premiums in a plan through a health-insurance exchange AND (a) your business failed to provide “minimum essential coverage” OR (b) your business offered coverage that wasn’t “affordable” or didn’t provide “minimum value.” The terms in quotes are defined under the ACA. The penalty could be up to $3,000 per employee depending on the violation involved. These penalties will go into effect on January 1, 2015, a year later than originally scheduled.


Emma Luevano
Emma Luevano
Emma Luevano is a regular contributor to on legal issues relevant to small and medium business. She is a partner at the law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP ( who advises and represents management on labor and employment matters, including sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination, public policy violations, wrongful termination, class action wage and hour issues,and retaliation.

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