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Obamacare's Employer Mandate Takes Effect: 5 Things to Know

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Obamacare's employer mandate went into effect January 1, and there are a few things that employers should know.

The mandate was supposed to go into effect last year, but it was delayed for a year to allow businesses to implement the necessary changes. So what were those changes exactly?

Here are five things employers should know about the Obamacare employer mandate:

1. Some Businesses Are Not Happy About Mandate/Delay.

As you may have guessed, some employers aren't exactly tickled pink about implementing this new federal law. Some businesses even sued for damages they believe they've incurred while trying to comply with the mandate -- especially after it was delayed. However, the employer mandate is the law of the land, and unless or until Congress overturns it or the courts strike it down, employers in its scope must comply.

2. Large Employers Need to Cover at Least 70 Percent of Employees.

While the federal government expects employers to provide its full-time employees with health benefits, in 2015, businesses with 100 or more employees need only cover 70 percent of these employees. The percentage will increase to at least 95 percent by 2016, but it may make the first year of compliance less difficult.

3. Small Employers Have Until January 1, 2016 to Comply.

While the mandate is now in effect for most large employers, businesses with 50 to 99 employees have until January 1, 2016, to comply with the employer mandate, reports The Oregonian. Those with fewer than 50 employees can choose not to offer health insurance, but it may be worth it to snag a health care tax credit.

4. The Penalty Might Be Cheaper Than Health Insurance.

Employers will face a $2,000 penalty per employee who isn't covered in compliance with the employer mandate; however, the first 30 employees are exempt from this calculation. So for some businesses, it may pay off just to skip complying until next year.

5. FindLaw Has Resources for Your Obamacare Questions.

Still a bit mystified about how Obamacare will impact your business? Check out FindLaw's series on "Understanding Obamacare" for general information on the history of the law, its effects, and to which businesses it applies.

And if you need more specific help in complying with the Affordable Care Act, contact an experienced business attorney near you.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Google+.

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