Obamacare will impact small dealers


Provisions and rules under Obamacare that could impact marine dealers and employees continue to be uncovered. For example, we know dealers with less than 50 employees are not required to offer health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Businesses with more than 50 full-time employees are required, albeit they now have another year before being slapped with penalties if they don’t. Still, even dealers with less than 50 employees are finding out they have some obligations under Obamacare. Here’s one:

Beginning Oct. 1, the new health insurance marketplaces created under Obamacare will open for business. Dealers with less than 50 employees are included in the requirement that all businesses must provide notice to all employees about the Obamacare marketplaces. These are state insurance exhanges (or federal exchanges where a state has none) with websites set up for individuals and companies to shop for health insurance coverage.

To be specific, notification must be given before the exchanges open (Oct. 1) by any business with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue.

For starters, I suggest dealers go to the U.S. Department of Labor website. They’ve posted model notices for use by employers who do not offer insurance, as well as a model for those that do. The models can be printed out, completed and given or mailed to all current employees. For any new hires after Oct. 1, the same notice must be provided within14 days.

IRS fines

It’s not clear what penalties can be assessed for failing to provide the required notice, but some reports suggest it could be $100 per day per employee. Best to avoid this issue altogether and get the applicable notice out now.

On the individual side, the fines and penalties are clear as the IRS announced it finalized the penalties for individuals who choose not to join the party, reported Julian Hattem in The Hill. You will recall, under the Affordable Care Act individual mandate, nearly everyone must either be covered by health insurance or pay a fine.

In the first year, the fine for not getting insurance will be $95 per person or 1 percent of household income. It goes up rapidly from there. By 2016, the penalty will rise to $695 per person or 2.5 percent of household income. After that, it will continue to go up using some cost-of-living formula.

There are, however, a number of exceptions to the individual mandate fines included in the rules. For example, people who are between jobs and, therefore, temporarily uninsured won’t be fined. Neither will persons opposed to having insurance coverage for religious reasons. Members of Indian tribes are exempt, too. The individual mandate has been, and will likely continue to be, the most contentious aspect of Obamacare.