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"Opt Out" benefits for a small (Non-ALE) employer


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Say you have an employer with less than 50 employees - they have no intention of ever having 50 employees. Their cafeteria plan offers an opt-out benefit for those who don't elect the employer's group health coverage. As I understand it, there can be three types of opt-out arrangements, unconditional, conditional, or an "eligible opt-out arrangement" - which is a conditional arrangement  that also meets specific additional criteria.

If the employer is a non-ALE, what is the downside, if any, to having an "unconditional" opt-out arrangement, other than possibly affecting the affordability calculation for purposes of whether an individual is eligible for a subsidy for policies purchased on an exchange?

Seems like a conditional opt-out arrangement, for a small employer, may unnecessarily restrict the employee from choosing to buy individual coverage?

I'm sure I'm missing something here. Would appreciate any thoughts.

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