If you are a business owner or just an employee of a business or just planning to start up a small business, you may want to know about small business healthcare plans for you and your employees. Having a healthcare plan for your business will ensure security to any accident or other health issues that may happen to you or anyone in the company. At the same time, enrolling on a small business healthcare plan is a great benefit for your employees making them more productive and efficient to do the tasks you gave them. What there is to know about small business healthcare plans is to determine how the system work and how to pick one that will eventually suit your budget at the same time with satisfying benefits for you, your employees and the whole company.
Group health insurance is employer-sponsored health coverage for business owners, employees and often for dependents. A majority of Americans have group health coverage through their own or a family member’s employer-sponsored group plan. Employers and employees can share costs and there are special tax incentives available to businesses that provide group health insurance. As an employer, you select a group health insurance plan and then invite your employees to enroll. Typically, employers cover at least 50% of each employee’s monthly premium, and can also contribute to dependent premiums. The remainder is paid for by the employee. If you want to provide health insurance benefits and you’re able to contribute toward employee premiums, group health insurance is the way to go. Offering group health insurance can help you hire and retain the best workers, and the amount you pay toward employee premiums may be tax-deductible. Since no one can be turned down based on medical history, group coverage also protects workers or family members who might otherwise go uninsured.
However, you may have to wait for some time before having to apply for small business healthcare plans. A report released from U.S. Government Accountability Office said that officials still have big tasks to complete, including reviewing plans that will be sold in the exchanges and training and certifying consumer aides who can help small businesses and individuals find plans. With a small business, you may have some consideration to take before you are able to avail a particular small business healthcare plan. Here are some you have to think about:
- Is your company eligible?
The exchanges are limited to businesses with 100 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees. Full-time equivalent is the number of employees on full-time schedules plus the number of employees on part-time schedules, converted to a full-time basis.
- How would the small business healthcare plan benefit my company?
Small business healthcare plans will enable company to manage healthcare benefits of the company’s employees. Te employer would only have to pay on a single account and the plan will be the one responsible to spread the benefits among its staffs.
At the same time, small business healthcare plans are much cheaper than availing private individual healthcare insurance. This is because the exchanges are expected to attract a large pool of participants, which theoretically would create more competition among insurers, thus resulting in lower insurance premiums.
- Who is in charge in running small business healthcare plans?
Seventeen states are running their own small business healthcare plans with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services carrying out the task on behalf of the remaining 33 states. For more information on the exchange in your state, visitwww.healthcare.gov/marketplace.
- What are the different small business healthcare plans?
Normally, private health insurance companies will be the one to offer small business healthcare plans. For 2014, employers in states where the federal government is running the exchange will be able to select just one plan to offer to workers. Which carriers will be participating and how many will vary by state. In some states, such as New Hampshire, only one insurance carrier has expressed interest in the small-business exchange.
- When can you start using the small business healthcare plans?
Though enrollment is slated to begin in October of this year, with plans to take effect in January 2014, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) report suggests they may not open in time. The 17 states running their own exchanges were late on an average of 44% of key activities that were originally scheduled to be completed by the end of March, it said.
There have been other setbacks as well. The federal government said in April that contrary to initial plans, it wouldn’t allow workers in the first year to choose between a range of insurance options offered through employers. For the first year, companies will select one plan to offer to workers.
- Do I really need to buy a small business healthcare plan?
Once your firm reaches 50 full-time equivalent employees, a penalty will kick in if you fail to provide coverage for employees who average 30 or more hours a week in a given month, starting in January. The penalty is $2,000 for each full-time employee in excess of 30 full-time employees. There are no penalties if part-time employees are not offered coverage. The government will rely on data about the composition of employers’ workforces this year in order to determine whether a firm will be liable.
Also, if an employer with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees does offer coverage, but the insurance doesn’t meet the law’s minimum requirements, there is a penalty of $3,000 for each worker who gets a federal subsidy through state insurance exchanges.
The small business healthcare plans will become an efficient contribution to the healthcare industry. With this, more people will be able t have themselves insured with a cheaper and more accessible way. Though it may take some time before we can fully see it in action, small business healthcare plans is sure to be done before year 2014 giving benefits not only to employees but also to employers due to cheaper cost. What you may have to do now is seek for the benefit and read the policy that a particular healthcare plan can offer for your small business.