5 Questions Business Owners Should Be Asking About Healthcare Reform (Plus Some Answers)

By Farrah Kennedy

Posted : September 19, 2013

Category : How To

5 Questions Business Owners Should Be Asking About Healthcare Reform (Plus Some Answers)

Confused about healthcare reform? We thought so. Here are five
questions you are probably asking, along with some answers that should
help you sleep better a night.

  1. Are the healthcare reform police about to bust through my front door?No employer must offer coverage. Depending
    on the size of your company, different provisions apply. Fifty employees
    is the tipping point. For businesses with 50 or fewer employees, there
    is the Small
    Business Health Options Program
    (SHOP) that opens October 1,
    2013 and is designed as an online marketplace for health insurance. You
    may be eligible for Small
    Business Health Care Tax Credits. If you have 51 or more
    full-time equivalent employees, you should plan on offering affordable
    insurance that meets minimum value, as determined by government
    standards, or face a penalty. You may be subject to the Employer
    Shared Responsibility payment if at least one of your full
    time employees gets lower costs on their monthly premiums through the
    Marketplace. Confused? Consider hiring a broker who knows his or her way
    around the changing healthcare landscape and can guide you through some
    of these regulations.
  2. Should I make my part timers work fewer hours?This is not a simple yes or no answer. Employees who work 30
    or more hours per week are now considered full time. If you employ 51 or
    more people and have part time employees who work 32 hours a week, you
    are going to have to either provide coverage or pay a penalty. It is up
    to you to decide if you want to offer your part-time employees coverage.
    There are a multitude of factors that will guide you. Depending on the
    state in which you do business, and the size of your company, how much
    coverage you want to offer, and the makeup of your participant
    population, you will have different options and requirements.
  3. Do I have to do anything right this very minute?Well, sort of. The enforcement of the Employer Mandate taxes
    and reporting has been delayed until 2015. However, there are a number
    of requirements that did not get delayed. For example, by October 1, you
    need to send a notice to employees. Otherwise, you don’t have to do
    anything, but it’s a very good idea to get smart on healthcare reform.
    Review and revise all plan documents.
  4. What? Does this mean my insurance rates are going up?You’re not going to like the short answer: it depends. There
    have been studies that show, on average, that rates will go up, but it
    all depends on what state you are in, the level of coverage you offer,
    your plan participant population. However, there will continue to be
    upward pressure on insurance prices in general.
  5. What’s the penalty for not having insurance?As of October 1, 2013 companies with at least one employee and
    $500,000 in annual revenue face up to a $100 per day fine if they fail
    to send out a letter notifying all employees of the Affordable Care
    Act’s healthcare exchanges. If your business is regulated under the Fair
    Labor Standards Act, regardless of size, you must comply. Going
    forward, letters are to be distributed to any new hires within 14 days
    of their starting date, according to the Department of Labor. The
    penalty, also known as the Employer Mandate, does not go into effect
    until 2015.

About the author:

Farrah Kennedy knows franchise prospecting and knows it well. Having served as the General Manager at Franchise Gator, the leading on-line directory for franchise and business opportunity information, until December 2013, she managed all aspects of the business, including franchisor relationships, franchise leads, P&L and strategic objectives and growth, as well as taking care of Gator Crew who affectionally referred to her as 'GatorMom'.

Farrah began with Gator since almost the beginning - she was the first employee in October 2003. Before Franchise Gator, Farrah started her career in lead generation in 1997 with NewHomesDirect.com, a research site for potential new home owners where she served as the Director of Operations for 5 years.

Farrah now serves as Senior Manager at Mail Chimp.

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