Small business owners sometimes provide health insurance to their employees and things are getting tougher with the delay of online enrollment, especially if they rely on www.healthcare.gov.
Obama administration in November announced a delay in the online enrollment for small companies about purchasing healthcare coverage through Obamacare exchanges. Also, the department of Health and Human Services has announced a delay in the healthcare reforms act, well known as Affordable Care Act.
The administration had promised to offer alternative methods of enrollment for small business, but there was a little surprise in the form of unexpected delay in the online enrollment process. It is an unfortunate turn in the healthcare reforms and laws. Because of this delay, there is confusion amongst the small business owners – some feel they need an MBA in healthcare management to understand all of the fine print. The processing difficulties mean that the small businesses trying to obtain healthcare coverage using the Federal website are stalled or delayed in obtaining coverage for their employees.
There are a few significant impacts on the small business due to the delay in the enrollment plans.
- If you are an individual owner or the owner of the small business, then you are good to buy an individual plan or a family plan in case you want to include your family as well in the healthcare plan. All these healthcare plans can be easily purchased from www.healthcare.gov or the state Government’s website. You might even try to obtain a tax credit for your premium if you meet the necessary income tax requirements.
- Businesses that have more than 50 full time employees are slightly larger small business companies. A new rule has been enforced where these business owners should provide complete healthcare coverage to the full time employees. This rule is going to be mandated in the whole nation by 2015, and those who violate the rule will have to pay a fine of $3,000 per violation.
- If the company has fewer than 50 employees, then all of these employees need not be covered under insurance plans; this process is known as SHOP (Small Business Health Options). The main advantage of this policy is that the business owner may get a tax credit of around 50% of the premium he pays, and this rule applies only for full time employees. Unfortunately, part time employees or your dependents are not at all covered under this policy. Also,the remaining amount is deducted completely.
- Coming back to our burning issue, the result thedelay; the biggest impact of the delay is that – the small businesses will not have any functioning platform or marketplace on the www.healthcare.gov site.
- On the contrary, you may have to do more paperwork and statistical analysis to figure out what is a better approach whether to keep the existing plan or to go with SHOP or let the workers go to the exchange. You can either go through an agent or broker or insurer or do it all by yourself; the choice is absolutely yours!
- Employees are also given two options – premium services or employee choice option. This lets the employees choose their own plans rather than the employer throwing some options at them and not letting them select a plan suited to their own needs.
It is up to the small businesses and others to keep up with the times and change their products and services accordingly.