Healthcare and the Small Business Owner: Two Keys
Since Jan. 1, 2014, Americans have been required under federal law to purchase health insurance. Every employee of a small business in 2014 had to either maintain health insurance or pay a fine equivalent to 1 percent of his or her income, above the tax-filing threshold. In 2015 that penalty will jump to 2 percent of adjusted gross income. Open enrollment runs from Nov. 15 through Feb. 15 and is the time during which health insurance companies and HMOs are required by law to accept applicants without regard to health history. So how does this new healthcare landscape affect small business owners? There are two main things small business owners should know.
1. Businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not required to offer health insurance.
However, any small business with 50 to 99 full-time employees will have until 2016 to begin offering health insurance to 95 percent of their full-time employees or pay a fine. These businesses must still carefully track employee’s hours and report information to the IRS beginning in 2015. The timeline is accelerated for business with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees. These businesses must offer affordable health insurance to at least 70 percent of their full-time employees beginning in 2015 or pay a fine. That number increases to 95 percent in 2016.
2. There is no one size fits all for offering health insurance to employees.
Because each employer’s circumstances are different, owners should explore all options available—from providing group health plans to contributing defined dollar amounts to their employees monthly.
For small business not offering group health plans, Unland Insurance has developed the Smart Choices™ Marketplace. The Smart Choices™ Marketplace is a health insurance exchange where individuals can compare plans, select and apply for health insurance in a simple, stress free and intuitive online hub. This new health insurance exchange offers plenty of choices without overwhelming shoppers, and can help your employees find the right health insurance in as little as 12 minutes. Furthermore, because it’s not affiliated with any specific carrier, employees will be able to choose between well-known national and regional health insurance companies, as well as insurance plans on the public exchange.