ACA Veteran-Count Exclusion Helps Small Businesses Avoid Employer Mandate

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What we call Veterans Day, which throughout much of the world is celebrated as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice that ended World War I. The armistice signed by the Allies and Germany took effect the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

In 2015, this observance in the United States has an inaugural twist relating to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Redefining an ALE

The employer mandate of the ACA defines an applicable large employer (ALE) as an employer with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents. Classification as an ALE requires employers to comply with the ACA employer mandate: Offer qualified health insurance or face penalties.

Veteran Exclusion for ACA Compliance_Integrity DataA bill known as the Hire More Heroes Act, which passed July 27, 2015 as part of the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act, allows employers to exclude employees with health coverage from the Veterans Administration and TRICARE from the count that determines an employer’s ALE count.

Clearing the threshold

For employers who are teetering on the 50 ALE threshold, the ability to exclude veterans and their family members – just like the ability to exclude owners and partners – may put their actual count below 50.

This would eliminate the need for compliance with the employer mandate of the ACA.

Being able to seek medical care through the Veterans Administration (VA) health care system has been a benefit long cherished by veterans. Access to this benefit is generally given to individuals who served in active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable.

According to the VA, current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health benefits as well.

Limits of the exclusion

Important to note about the ACA veteran-count exclusion is that this change only enables employers to exclude affected individuals when determining the employer’s ALE count. If, even after applying this exclusion, an employer ALE count remains 50 or more, they must offer health coverage to these employees just as they would to any full-time employee.

To learn about another effect of excluding veterans from the ALE count, read more on Integrity Data’s ACA Compliance blog.

To learn more about how employers must prepare for the Affordable Care Act compliance, download our ebook, Affordable Care Act: Employer Essentials for IRS Reporting.


By Ernie Redfern | ACA Education Director, Integrity Data



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