For years, NATO worked aggressively to support reasonable efforts to reduce health care costs and to make it more affordable for all of our members to provide health care insurance to their employees. NATO’s most recent efforts involved securing provisions that would benefit exhibition as part of the massive health care reform package signed by President Obama in March 2010. While the law is brimming with significant tax increases, confusing rules and complicated formulas for businesses, NATO and its partners in the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Health Care successfully:
- Opposed an employer mandate provision passed by the House of Representatives that would have would have cost businesses more than $120 billion. In its place is an employer responsibility requirement for firms with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees to offer health insurance coverage to full-time employees, or alternatively be subject to potential penalties if a full-time employee receives a federal premium tax credit to subsidize coverage.
- Lobbied to ensure that the employer responsibility requirement does not penalize businesses for not offering coverage to part-time workers.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, federal and state rule makers are set to proceed with implementation of the law’s numerous provisions. Although health care reform will continue to be hotly debated in Congress despite passing muster with the high court, exhibitors should take immediate action to prepare for the law’s impact on their operations.
Protect Full-Time Employment
Update (January 2015): The House of Representatives passed H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act, 252-172. Thank you to NATO members who urged their Members of Congress to support the bill.
Cinema owners across the nation support the growing number of bills in Congress that would restore the historical work week standard, which is both proven and effective. In the 113th Congress, the House of Representatives passed vital legislation that replaces the 30-hour definition of “full-time employment” in the Affordable Care Act with the traditional 40-hour standard. However, the legislation did not see more action before the 113th Congress ended.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s employer responsibility requirement, movie theater companies and other businesses that average 50 or more “full-time-equivalent” workers face stiff penalties if they do not offer full-time employees and their dependents qualified health insurance coverage. Although this requirement—a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act—aimed to protect workers, it was poorly conceived in Congress’ rush to achieve the law’s passage. Among its many flaws, the requirement sets the full-time threshold at 30 hours a week—upending the traditional 40-hour work week that has long been the standard for American businesses.
Although a simple alteration, setting the full-time employment definition at 40 hours would protect the livelihoods of workers and encourage business growth. This is especially true for the cinema industry, which is a leader in employing young first-time job holders, individuals with disabilities and elderly persons seeking to supplement their income—workforce demographics that generally have difficulty finding employment in this challenging economy.
More resources are available at MoreTimeForFullTime.org, an initiative supporting common-sense changes to the definition of full-time employment.
Employer Reporting Requirement
In March 2014, the Internal Revenue Service published final regulations detailing insurance reporting requirements for employers per the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The regulations pertain to “Applicable Large Employers,” defined by the ACA as employing 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTE). Full-time equivalent employee is defined as an employee who performs 30 or more hours of service per week or 120 hours of service per month. Covered employers are required to submit paperwork to the IRS certifying that they have offered “minimum essential coverage” to their full-time employees, and information on how many employees per month qualified for such coverage. Employers must also furnish their FTEs with information on what was filed with the IRS. While the ACA’s employer mandate was delayed until 2015 for employers with 100 or more FTEs and until 2016 for those with 50-99 FTEs, many employers have chosen to begin tracking their employees’ hours to establish which employees would qualify for employer-provided health insurance under the ACA.
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Reynolds & Reynolds Insurance Marketplace
NATO’s partner Reynolds & Reynolds has established a nationwide Insurance Marketplace to help employers and their workers navigate the Affordable Care Act’s insurance requirements. The Reynolds & Reynolds Marketplace provides insurance guides to help steer individuals and families through the process of 1) selecting the most appropriate options; 2) shopping for products online; and 3) determining whether they qualify for a federal subsidy and which insurance products are eligible for subsidies.