The Most Important ACA Number


By: Zack Pace, SVP, Benefits Consulting

When it comes to benefits management, the most important number for any small to mid-sized business to know is how many full-time employees + full-time equivalent employees it averaged in calendar year 2014.1 This solitary, unassuming number is the primary determining factor regarding:

  1. If the employer is subject to Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer shared responsibility for tax year 2015
  2. If the employer must file IRS Form 1095-C and 1094-C for tax year 2015 (AKA Affordable Care Act reporting)2
  3. For employers in most markets sponsoring fully insured medical plans, if their 2015 renewal is subject to the ACA fair health insurance premium rules (AKA age-banded rates)

Given the dramatic impact of this single number, it’s recommended that employers task their accountant with this calculation, review the resulting impact with their ERISA attorney and benefits advisor, and make proper adjustments

However, given all of the regulatory and market pressures on small to mid-sized businesses, what I’m discovering is that this calculation is often not making it to an accountant’s desk. Employers are often calculating this figure internally or simply estimating it.

In my latest Employee Benefits News article, I describe the importance of this number and provide two quick case studies: The ACA: Know your number. Now is the perfect time to double-check that this number was calculated correctly.

The full article is available here: The ACA: Know your number.

What other ACA and benefit topics are on your mind? Please let me know, and I’ll write about them in future Employee Benefit News essays.

You can reach me on or via Twitter. My collection of LinkedIn essays is located here. My Employee Benefit News articles are available here.


  1. See Treasury’s Questions and Answers on Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act for an overview of this calculation and the Final Regulations for the specifics. Or simply contact your accountant.
  2. See Treasury’s Questions and Answers on Reporting of Offers of Health Insurance Coverage by Employers (Section 6056) for the details.


Follow Me

Zack Pace

Zack Pace, SVP, Benefits Consulting at CBIZ Inc., and his team design, implement, and manage benefits packages that are highly effective at empowering clients to attract and retain the top talent needed in order to outperform competitors, while ensuring that the cost of the overall benefits program and its components are cost-effective.
Follow Me

Latest posts by Zack Pace (see all)