Amid all the debates, strong feelings and questions Obamacare has created for business owners, there's a strategy for the owners of small businesses that has slipped under the radar.
Small business owners who don't offer and aren't required to offer health insurance to employees can help them get coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchange, benefitting both your employees and your business at the same time.
Before you reject the idea, consider the strategy. As a small business, you have a lot to offer employees. Generally, the individual work of employees can make a greater impact on a small business, and it's easier for employees to get noticed for strong performance. There's a connectivity that small companies offer to employees that large companies struggle to achieve. Larger companies, however, can compete for talent with attractive benefit and resource packages. Not offering health insurance as a small business can put you at a disadvantage as you compete to retain and recruit talent.
Obamacare actually provides a great opportunity. Just as larger companies hold annual open-enrollment meetings to orient and sign up employees to their benefit plans, you can do the same. Instead of an orientation to a private health-insurance plan, you provide an orientation and facilitation for obtaining health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Consider these benefits of an Affordable Care Act health plan for your employees:
Pre-existing conditions. For the first time, employees can sign up for health insurance and be accepted with pre-existing conditions. You will help them alleviate the stress felt from not being insured.
No cost to you. Instead of having to provide an employer contribution, the government gives the employees a contribution on your behalf as a small business owner.
Affordable rates. While the debate could go on for days about what exactly is "affordable," many of your employees will receive a subsidy, thereby making the rates more affordable than before.
Saves you money. If your employees have health insurance and they become sick or are hurt outside the job, they will seek help from their doctor using their medical insurance. This is better than the "mysterious" workers' compensation injuries that pop up from time to time. If employees have insurance, they are less likely to file fraudulent workers' comp claims.
Your "open enrollment" or "How to Obtain Affordable Health Insurance" meeting can be an uplifting cultural event for your organization. Presented in the right way, your company will be seen in a positive light, bringing information and access to your employees. What is now confusing and complicated with Obamacare will become easy to understand and burden free.
Just like the larger companies, align yourself with a strong insurance broker to present at your meeting, answer questions and facilitate sign ups. Today's cutting edge insurance brokers know the new law and how to sign up employees for the best plan quickly and efficiently. Unlike the larger companies that might be delivering bad news to their employees with reduced benefits and increased contributions, your news will be a pleasant surprise and welcomed by a thankful workforce. Now that's a strategy to get behind.