The Supreme Court has ruled and President Obama has been reelected to a second term.  For employers, this means there is no time like the present to begin (or continue) planning for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The following are some next steps for employers to take with regard to their group health plan.

  1. New Guidance – There has been very little guidance released over the last couple of months prior to the election.  But new guidance is expected regarding several key features of the Affordable Care Act.  As the new guidance is released, employers must become familiar with the guidance as quickly as possible.
  2. 2013 Changes – Several new requirements become effective in 2013, including limits on flexible spending accounts, W-2-reporting requirements, new Medicare payroll tax on high income wage earners, and new notice requirements.  Employers must make sure that they are in compliance with these new requirements as soon as possible.
  3. 2014 Changes – January 1, 2014 marks the effective date of the most significant new requirements under the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, the employer shared-responsibility mandate, and the new health insurance exchanges.  It is not too early for employers to begin planning for these 2014 changes. 

Takeaway – While the Affordable Care Act still faces discrete legal challenges and questions remain regarding how funding will be handled at both the federal and state levels, the Affordable Care Act has survived the major challenges it has faced.  Therefore, employers should be planning for full implementation.