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Hospitality Industry Braces for ACA

Although there have been numerous delays with the Affordable Care Act, it is important that business owners continue to plan for its changes – especially within the hospitality industry. This industry can be impacted significantly by the ACA, as much of the workforce is considered part- time, seasonal or temporary.

It may be difficult determining who is considered a full-time employee, as employees’ hours tend to fluctuate on a week-to-week basis. More than likely, hospitality businesses already have several employees who are on the verge of being considered full-time.

As business owners in the industry fear changes in compliance and cost, it is important to note that although costs per employee will go up, introducing incentives such as wellness programs can help drive that cost back down. By offering such programs, employers are promoting a healthy lifestyle, which in turn, can reduce health care costs.

Jay M. Kirschbaum, senior vice president of the Willis National Legal & Research Group, recommends that business owners in the industry prepare for ACA change by taking the following steps:

  • Discuss the impact of the law.
  • Educate your employees about compliance.
  • Collect and analyze data to see where your company stands.
  • Discuss the impact with your clients.
  • Begin implementation.

In regards to that third point, it is possible your company already is ACA-compliant. According to Kirschbaum, a majority of current plans already meet requirements because the minimum compliance levels of the new health care law are set very low. Therefore, employers who currently offer no coverage need only make minor changes in order to meet compliance.

While many business owners – not to mention some members of Congress – continue to oppose the ACA, it is unlikely to go away, and more changes are expected in the near-future. Reports indicate that business owners can expect changes as far out as 2018, so business owners must do their research to be prepared for the inevitable.

You have two choices when it comes to health care reform: Pay or play. By playing, you choose to abide by the new laws and regulations. By paying, you choose to opt out and face the penalties, in hopes of saving money.

The content of this blog is intended to keep interested parties informed of legal and industry developments for educational purposes only.  It is not intended as legal opinion or tax advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for legal or tax advice.