Thanks to the new health reforms, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees have new tools with which to provide health care to their employees. As you navigate your options, BenefitMall’s president, chairman and chief executive officer Bernard DiFiore has compiled five tips that small business owners like yourself should keep in mind.
1. Small biz, big taxes. Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of uninsured Americans will have access to health insurance regardless of their medical history. Under the mandate, insurance has to be “affordable” and in order to meet those standards. The federal government will supply tax credits. To pay for the tax credits, a variety of taxes and fees were included in the law and business owners will see these fees accumulate.
2. Don’t assume you can’t afford to offer care. Despite the extra taxes and fees, don’t automatically assume you can’t afford a plan on the exchange. For example, if a small business with less than 25 full-time equivalent employees provides health insurance coverage to their employees and covers at least 50 percent of the cost of health care coverage for their employees, they may be eligible for a federal income tax credit.
3. Be patient. The federal small business exchange, known as the SHOP exchange, is scheduled to open for enrollment November 1, affecting 33 states whose marketplaces will be run by the government. This deadline might change and some eligible businesses are not waiting until enrollment begins, and risk potential savings for their companies. With any major initiative, there will be upfront challenges in terms on knowledge, processes and technology, but give your company the chance to learn about all the options available.
4. Don’t forget about traditional coverage. While much of the public attention regarding the health insurance system has centered on the new public health exchanges, the traditional private market for health insurance remains a strong presence on the health insurance landscape and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The vast majority of Americans -- individuals and small employers -- are expected to remain covered by plans that are offered in the traditional private market.
5. Never navigate the ACA alone. Business owners should never navigate the new health reforms alone as the regulations are complex and can change. Seek the advice of a broker, CPA or attorney to ensure the plans you’re considering are compliant and right for your company.