Affordable Care Act deadlines quickly approaching - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Affordable Care Act deadlines quickly approaching

The Affordable Care Act officially goes into effect on January 1, 2014.

While that may seem far off, there are related deadlines that are approaching much more quickly.

One deadline is just 13 days away, and businesses have to meet this deadline or pay a sizeable fee.

October 1 is the date individuals can begin to enroll in the government offered healthcare plans. By law, a business is not required to provide healthcare to its employees until they have 50 or more full time workers.

However, every single employer, regardless of size, must notify every employee, whether full time, part-time, or seasonal, of the coming changes in health care legislation before the deadline hits.

If employers don't have record of an attempt to notify every employee, the business could face an audit and pay a daily fee of $100.

To manage these extra audits, the IRS has hired 14,000 new employees. Benefit service officials say learning as much as possible is important because the legislation is certainly not one size fits all. 

"There's not a simple answer for each employer, nor is there for each employee. Circumstances are different, so they do need to kind of look at it across the board," Lori Ensminger, Area President of Arthur J. Gallagher said.

This means Siouxland businesses have some steps to take in the next few weeks.

One such business is Cardinal Farms, employing eleven people in South Sioux City, Nebraska.

"Confused, frustrated. There are parts of the whole thing that I support, but this goes way beyond and is unfortunately not well planned-out," Douglas Garwood, President and CEO of Garwood Industries.

Cardinal Farms is a subsidiary of Garwood Industries.  Garwood hadn't heard about the upcoming deadline requiring every employer to notify every single employee of the coming changes on the healthcare scene. 

"Most of us small business people out here are left wondering like, what are we supposed to do? You know? We want to comply," Garwood said.

Even for small businesses that do not provide their workers with health care coverage, the business will serve as a sort of advertising agency for the federal government. They'll spread the word to employees about the new plans that are available, work-related or not.

As businesses both large and small move forward under the new regulations, no one is really sure what to expect from the future of this legislation. The most important thing is to stay tuned as the changes come in.

"That's one of the things, even though we aren't affected, we absolutely have to keep informed and keep up on it," Garwood said.

Once the October deadline passes, the work of figuring out which health care plan to choose is up to the individual. 

Employees working for a business with 50 or more full-time employees will still work with their employer for coverage, but the same is not necessarily true for small business employees of companies with fewer than 50 full-time workers.

Either way, every individual in the U.S. must be insured on or before January 1 of 2014.

If you work at a company with less than 50 full-time employees, you still must enroll in some type of coverage by 2014, or face a monthly fee of at least $95.

Exceptions do apply in cases of poverty, and different government plans will be available. 

For more information on what's available starting October 1, visit

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