Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. You are not operating a qualified plan as an employer. In other words your reimbursing workers for plans they go out and buy on their own, is not a tax qualified plan and does not fall within the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA
) or the ACA for what qualifies as an employer plan. Your employees should be paying tax on the amounts you pay them for the reimbursement - because it is not a qualified plan.
Thus, for purposes of the ACA its as if you do not offer healthcare coverage at all. Conceivably, your employees could go to the exchange, state that their employer does not offer coverage, and purchase a plan on the exchange. You could continue to reimburse the employee's premium costs as you have in the past, even with them being on the exchange and possibly receiving the tax credit for their purchase. Because you do not have the 50 requisite employees, you would not be penalized for not offering healthcare coverage. Really, this doesn't change anything for you unless you grow to larger than 50 employees. It may be cheaper for you if they get on the exchanges...assuming those plans do end up being more competitive and cheaper as advocates for the exchanges suggest...but that remains to be seen.
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