SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Widespread confusion--that's pretty much how consumers and businesses are responding to the Affordable Care Act that rolls out next week.
For your employer, there are requirements that go into effect October first. One provision, the Play-or-Pay mandate has been delayed until next year. But that doesn't mean businesses shouldn't be getting ready now.
As employers prepare to follow the rules that require them to insure their employees, there's one thing that everyone, no matter their politics, agrees upon.
"I think not only employers, but also the public is in the dark and hopefully we'll use the next 90 days to educate and provide information to employers," Ruth Krystopolski said.
"When next week rolls around you’re going to have a lot of folks scrambling, boy we need to get ready." Shawn Lyons of the South Dakota Retailers Association said.
First that deadline next week: All employers must notify their workers in writing that they can go to the marketplace to look for insurance coverage. But larger employers have more work cut out for them.
"Employers still need to start looking at what they need to do to meet those mandated requirements, even a year in advance," Krystopolski said.
The Play-or-Pay mandate which goes into effect next year requires companies with 50 or more full-time workers to offer affordable health care insurance or pay a penalty of up to $2,000 per full-time employee. And businesses shouldn't assume they're too small to be covered.
"Many employers with more than one business entity don't realize they might need to start considering all of their employees as one group," Lyons said.
Businesses with high turnover and variable hours are going to have trouble figuring out just who they need to offer health insurance to under the law.
"Seasonal workers, more places that have more workers in the summer or winter, this will be difficult for and those that have a lot of part time employees that have variable hours based on need; for example, catering and other kinds of things. This is going to be a difficult calculation for them," Krystopolski said.
The food service industry expects to be the most affected by the mandate. The South Dakota Retailer's Association says all businesses should be prepared to answer employees’ questions starting next week.
Sanford Play-or-Pay Rule Book
SD Retailers Association Health Reform Resources
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