With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) going into effect this week throughout the United States, some business owners and executives in the U.S. Virgin Islands may still have questions about whether the Act applies to their company, and if so, what they need to do.
As it stands today, the Territory has not established an exchange for the purchase of private health insurance for the uninsured. Instead the U.S. Virgin Islands has elected to receive increased Medicaid funding that is available under the ACA.
The U.S. Virgin Islands chose the Medicaid expansion rather than an exchange due to the lack of federal funding for exchange premium assistance or cost sharing assistance and the difficulty in finding a state partner. This Medicaid expansion began on August 3rd for pregnant women and children with an income eligibility level of $6,500 per year. The Virgin Islands Department of Human Services plans additional coverage for others that would include childless adults which will be phased in over the next year.
U.S. Virgin Island companies with offices on the mainland should note that businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees will be required under ACA to provide “affordable” health insurance with “minimum essential coverage” to their work force. Companies that fail to comply with this requirement will be subject to a penalty of $2,000 penalty per-worker, per-year. This requirement was delayed, however, until 2015.
The ACA also provides that part-time worker hours are to be added into a company’s total employee count. As a result, “full-time equivalent” means dividing a company’s total part-time hours by 120 and then rounding down to the nearest whole number.
Beginning on October 1, a business in the 50 states with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue is required to notify all employees by letter about the Affordable Care Act’s health-care exchanges. If they don’t, the company faces up to a $100-per-day fine. In addition, this requirement applies to any business regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act, regardless of size. New hires should receive these letters within 14 days of their starting date, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
BoltNagi PC is a full service business law firm with a Labor and Employment Practice Group chaired by Ravinder S. Nagi. BoltNagi PC, one of the largest and highest regarded law firms in the United States Virgin Islands, has attorneys with the skills and business experience to assist your company. Contact the attorneys at BoltNagi PC today to discuss your business concerns and receive sound, authoritative advice on doing business in the U.S. Virgin Islands.