The Cost of Doing Business: ACA Can Raise the Cost of Hiring an Intern or Freelancer

Whether for PR or other functions, adequate staffing is a challenge all managers grapple with. Now they must consider the cost impact of the Affordable Care Act, even when using interns, freelancers or temps.

To the government there are no interns or temporary employees; the only categories that exist for the purposes of the health insurance law are Full Time, Part Time, Variable Hour and Seasonal. In 2015 – just a few months away – employers with more than 100 full-time equivalent employees will need to provide coverage for 70% of their full-time employees. By 2016 employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees will need to provide coverage to 95% of their full-time employees.

So, bringing in anyone for 30 or more hours per week will mean examining whether the organization will be responsible for the individual’s insurance.

Many PRSA-NCC members are freelancers who work on-site in their client’s offices, supplementing staff or filling in for someone on leave. Now client organizations must consider the impact of adding that professional to the team, even short term, to their health care costs, depending on their role and the work arrangement, and whether that individual has insurance of their own, independent of a subsidy.

And if an intern works more than 30 hours a week and isn’t covered by his or her parents’ plan or other source and signs up using a subsidy on a public exchange, the organization hiring that intern could be hit with a penalty.

For organizations bringing on temporary staff through a temp agency, it is important to be sure that they are contracting with the firm, not an individual associate, and that the associate is an employee of the firm. That way, the temporary staffing agency is the employer of record and the client organization is not liable for the individual’s insurance.

Kate Perrin, CEO
PRofessional Solutions, LLC

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