Many small business owners will need to change their health insurance policies, considering the Affordable Care Act goes into effect as of the beginning of the year, and open enrollment ends March 31st, 2014. There just isn’t much more time to get guidance and coverage for your employees.
To qualify as a small business owner, your company must have 50 or fewer employees working on a full-time or full-time equivalent basis. Small business owners can choose from four separate plans to offer their employees. These plans are all very similar, but it will depend on how much coverage each employee wants. The plans people have to choose from include:
Higher end plans have lower deductibles, as well as lower copayments. However, these plans have much higher monthly premiums. The lower end plans have much more manageable monthly premiums, but they may cause a person to pay more in copayments and deductibles.
The plan you choose should depend highly upon your current state of health and how often you typically require doctor’s appointments, emergency room visits, prescriptions and other health aids. If you find that you are a very healthy person that typically sees the doctor once a year for a check-up and need very few prescriptions, then a Bronze or Silver plan may be best for you. If you need multiple medications on a regular basis and find yourself in the doctor’s office or hospital frequently, it may be worth it to opt for a gold or platinum plan to cover all the costs of your health care in the most efficient way.
Just as a quick note, the plans are not necessarily in order of how beneficial the particular plan is. The differences hinge mostly upon the out-of-pocket expenses for an individual, as well as the copayments and deductibles each individual will be responsible for. As you can probably tell from the example given, each plan is based mostly upon how much or how little health care assistance you feel you need.
Another thing to consider as a small business is what is required of you. Not all small businesses will be required to offer their employees health insurance. Some businesses may find it more advantageous to pay a tax penalty at the end of the year. This option is not available to all small business owners though.
However, if you do decide to opt into a small business health care plan through the marketplace, be sure to take some things into situation. There are tax credits available for small business owners that help employees obtain and pay their premiums through the health care Marketplace. Below explains what companies are eligible and which are not.
Another aspect of health care plans for a small business through the Affordable Care Act to consider is how much you, as the employer, are willing and able to contribute toward the premiums your employees must pay. Many employees pay 50%, but each situation is different.
Just remember, if you offer too little to your employees, it may not meet minimum standards and you could face penalties for not offering proper health care options to your employees. If you need help making a decision, there is plenty of valuable information on this website, as well as the government website for the Affordable Care Act.
This is a relatively comprehensive guide to getting insurance as a small business owner, both for yourself and your employees.
The most important thing to remember as a small business owner is to become informed regarding your rights and responsibilities in relation to the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to read as much as possible before making any decisions for yourself or your company.