It’s official: Jan. 1, 2014 ushered in significant milestones under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here are three basic reminders for Connecticut employers:

Start Counting Now: The employer penalty has been delayed until 2015, so for this year larger employers (with 50 or more employees) won’t face a penalty if they don’t offer health insurance. However, the penalty is back on the table in 2015, with larger employers facing penalties if they don’t provide minimum, affordable coverage. It’s important that employers start the process of counting their employees now in preparation for 2015. Determining whether you are a large employer means more than counting heads--you must, for example, include your part-time employees in the calculation. (See CBIA’s Healthcare Resource Center for more information about calculating your employees.

March is the Real Deadline for Individuals: Individuals who do not have health insurance in 2014 will face a penalty.  But it’s important to remember that individuals have until March 31, 2014, to sign up for health insurance and avoid the penalty.  

State Policy Issues: As implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues, creative solutions to controlling healthcare costs must be considered. For example, more choice in the market will allow Connecticut residents to select the health plan that best fits their needs. Less expensive plans with smaller provider networks may be an attractive option for some—and shoppers should be given the benefit of that choice. 

What’s more, with the rise of private exchanges in the market offering health insurance solutions to individuals and employers, it’s essential that the state’s public and private exchanges compete on a level playing field. 

CBIA encourages the General Assembly in 2014 to take actions to promote greater choice for health insurance consumers by allowing network size to be a factor in the cost of their premiums.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Jennifer Herz (860.244.1921;; @CBIAJHerz).