Small businesses prepare for Affordable Care Act


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist Erin Coker and editor John Fisher

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 6 at 2:35 PM

AUSTIN -- A key date for the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is rapidly approaching -- even though employer mandated coverage has been delayed until January 2015. On October 1st, employers must notify all their workers whether they have coverage or not -- and what their rights and benefits are. It can be challenging to businesses of any size -- especially a small business that deals primarily in temporary employees.

"I don't have anything to worry about," said Maegen Lindsey, an account executive with Meador Staffing Services. She says she's not worried about anything associated with ACA.

"It's not a concern for me, as a full-time employee," said Lindsey.

However, for Lindsey's boss, Pamela Bratton, preparing for the ACA has been at or near the top of her to-do list every day for the last year.

"It is a huge deal for all staffing companies," said Bratton. "That's because the biggest population of our workforce is not the recruiting staff it's all the temporaries we assign."  

Bratton says there are 900,000 temporary workers in Texas -- every day.

"They might work a day, a week, 6-weeks, or 6-months," she said.  "Insurance companies don't like to write temporary employees who might only work a day.  You enroll them and they go off.  That's a challenge."  

Bratton says the numerous ACA changes to date often complicate the challenges.

"The rules and the messages change frequently about what it is we're supposed to do and how we're supposed to do it," she said.  "That part is frustrating."  

Bratton says even other employers she's talked to seemed to be confused over what has to be done by October 1, and what has been delayed until January 2015.

"They say, 'Oh we're so glad we don't have do anything until 2015,'" said Bratton. "Well that's not true, because you still have to give notices to your employees. There are mandated reporting requirements, mandated notice of coverage requirements that I'm afraid employers are going to miss."

Bratton says it may have been better if all the rules and kinks of the Affordable Care Act had been worked out before the plan was rolled out. Instead, she says, employers are left to deal with the rules and reporting requirements on the fly.


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