We (the authors) met shortly after the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. We had both studied the new law and were involved in multiple speaking engagements discussing the ACA and its effects on employers. Discovering a common approach to the law, and to advising our clients, we soon began to collaborate. This ACA Essentials Guide is a result of that collaboration, and a distillation of four years of collective experience in studying, speaking and advising on the Affordable Care Act. Over the course of those four years, we have identified several important aspects of the legislation that make it extraordinarily difficult for many employers. Some of those aspects are:
- The ACA is an enormously complicated piece of legislation, with over 20,000 pages of proposed and final regulations, and other guidance.
- None of it is in plain English.
- The ACA can have profound effects on an employer’s legal compliance, infrastructure and bottom line.
- The law is constantly changing.
- Several specific provisions (for example, the definition of a full time employee as one who works 30 hours per week or more) are different from or contrary to pre-ACA regulation and business practices.
- The information that has been disseminated in the mainstream press—even by some authors who claim to be experts—has largely been incomplete, misleading and, in some cases, just plain wrong.
Our goal with this Guide is to provide an accurate, up-to-date and plain-English overview of the major pieces of the law affecting employers. The Guide is not (nor can it be) a comprehensive treatise on all aspects of the ACA, nor should it be considered a substitute for advice from a trusted counselor. Nonetheless, we believe it will provide employers (especially those with a DIY streak) with enough information to get started on what may be a difficult transition into the post-ACA world. We hope you find this Guide helpful in your transition.