The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) continues to be a dynamic issue nationwide and here in Colorado. Beginning in 2015, all taxpayers will have to report to the IRS whether they had health insurance the previous year. Failure to maintain health insurance will result in fines for the taxpayer, unless he/she qualifies for various exemptions. Businesses and individuals can shop for policies through Connect for Health Colorado which can be accessed at http://connectforhealthco.com/.
Health care in Colorado may also be impacted by the passage of Senate Bill 14-187. SB 187 creates the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care, which will study health care cost drivers in Colorado and recommend solutions for lowering costs. The goal of the Commission is to find solutions to the increasing costs of health care so that it is more affordable to families, businesses and government in Colorado. The Commission discussions and results are worth monitoring in the coming year.
As discussed last year, the Employer Mandate of the ACA requires certain businesses to make affordable health insurance available to its employees. Companies with 50 or more full-time employees could face large fines per employee if they do not offer minimum essential health care coverage for all full time employees, or are offering insufficient benefits (including lack of affordable of coverage). Fortunately, as this process continues to be ironed out, the Obama Administration has announced “transition relief” under which penalties for employers with 50 or more workers will not go into effect until 2016. Because changes have been occurring under the ACA so frequently, employers should stay abreast of the situation throughout the coming year.