The world of a startup can be one of chaos, highs and lows, successes, failures, and everything else in between. Most people involved in a startup are performing multiple roles that need to be done for the success of the company, but people are happy to help as the exciting nature of a startup is their propensity and possibility of success. Within these chaotic times, there are still things that need to be done. Bills need to be paid, customers need to be satisfied, and government regulations need to be met.
The Affordable Care Act is one of the things on many business’ minds as compliance can be a multi-faceted tricky affair. In the startup world, where there’s no guarantee you have a full HR department, this can become even more difficult. Like anything though, there is a starting point; a baseline of things you should know and build off of to ensure long-term success and overall ACA compliance. Below are some tips we can offer to any startup looking to understand the landscape and how to best prepare to meet these standards.
Requirement versus Options
ACA compliance dictates that businesses over 50 employees must offer health insurance to their employees. Since we’re talking startups, it’s very possible to be under 50 people and if you’re in that boat, there is no penalty for not offering coverage to your employees. Obviously, there is a benefit to those you are hiring if you do offer it, but at least know that it is not a requirement if you are small enough in size.
Build Your Foundation
ACA compliance is no easy feat. It can be tricky to track all of the valuable data points, deliver proper documentation, and report back all key elements. It seems simple when it’s boiled down, but every additional employee is another individual with a uniqueness to their hours worked.
Being a startup though has an advantage. It means when new compliances arise from the government, you’re not scrambling to design a system on top of another system. You have the capability to build a system for tracking employees and their hours worked from the ground up. Coming in fresh means you can understand current regulations and compliances and design a system for it.
No matter what system you ultimately choose, the foundation should always be built on good data. As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out,” so as a startup you want to ensure the proper pieces of data are being tracked on every employee. And as more are on-boarded, this data and system should constantly be tested to ensure accurate results are always being produced and clear historical data visibility is always clear.
Look into Programs
Depending on the size of the startup, the government offers subsidies to companies that provide health insurance to employees. There are obviously qualifications, but it doesn’t hurt to look into them further and understand if there is potential to save some money. Affordable Care Act compliance can be cumbersome for businesses, especially startups, but at least there are programs to help offset some of the costs.
Stay Ahead of Dates
Affordable Care Act compliance is not one date, one thing to accomplish, or for a small amount of employees. It’s something that affects all employees to a degree and requires a business to perform multiple tasks against multiple deadlines. The moral of the story here is to stay on top of those deadlines. As a small business startup, most people are wearing multiple hats and in those environments, it can be very easy to miss a deadline. Understand each and every deadline and have a work-back plan to ensure deadlines are met early in case any issues arise. This level of preparation removes stress and ensures compliance to the variety of moving targets ACA compliance entails.