Last week while at the AHCA (American Health Care Association) annual convention, I got a chance to sit down with Mark Woodka the CEO of OnShift, a Senior Housing Forum Partner to talk about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has the potential to be a “big gotcha” for senior living providers in 2015.
One of the provisions of the ACA is the Employer Mandate(officially called the Employer Shared Responsibility), which requires organizations to offer health benefits to their full-time equivalent employees. There’s a lot more that goes into it, but in general if you are considered a “large employer” with at least 50 FTEs, then you must offer affordable health coverage benefits to your full-time workers, or face a penalty.
Managing ACA Time
Under the provisions of the law a part-time employee is reclassified as full-time if they work more than 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. This means you have to be particularly diligent in managing your part-time workers to part-time hours. Otherwise, you may be hit with penalties or excess health coverage costs that you did not anticipate.
In their role of providing cloud based staff scheduling tools to senior living providers, OnShift has been working closely with senior living providers to comply with their ACA policies. I asked Mark what senior living communities could be doing to prepare for the January 1, 2015 implementation of the employer mandate.
He emphasized that establishing the optimal part-time/full-time worker mix is critical, as is managing to that goal. Mark went on to explain that a big challenge for all communities is filling last minute shifts due to things like no shows or late call-offs. While it’s easy for communities to slot in the person most willing to work, solving the immediate problem, it can lead to the ACA penalty box. Another danger zone is having someone scheduled for 30 hours a week (or just shy of that) clocking in early or late, which could also push you over the part-time threshold.
Here’s where OnShift can help. OnShift users can set their scheduling parameters to avoid pushing over their ACA part-time hours’ threshold. When creating schedules or making last minute staffing decisions, OnShift will automatically identify which part-time workers are at risk of slipping into full-time status and conversely, which employees are the best choice to fill the shift. All of this happens in a predictive way, at the point of scheduling, so corrections can be made to avoid overages that can lead to unplanned penalties and costs.
We wrapped up our discussion with Woodka reminding me that providers need to have their strategy in place – today. In fact, employee hours in 2014 may actually “count” in 2015, so now is the time to take action.
You can learn more in a whitepaper that OnShift has made available to Senior Housing Forum readers: 5 Steps To Manage Your Part-Time/Full-Time Employee Mix. It provides additional great insights on how to manage your mix of full-time and part-time team members.