Health care has always been a hot topic. Historically health insurance was too expensive for many smaller businesses and individuals to have. Unfortunately the failure to obtain that insurance could result in very high medical costs when hospital, doctor, or dental visits were required. The Affordable Health Care Act known by many as ObamaCare will come into full effect in January of next year. It is meant to reform health care as we know it. There will be many changes that businesses and employees should be aware of.
Overall Health Care Changes
The new health insurance laws will make it easier for both individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance plans. It will ensure that health insurance premium costs are well spent by insurance companies.
- Starting in 2014, insurance companies will be unable to discriminate against individuals because of their gender or a preexisting condition. They cannot refuse to insure you or raise your premium due to the fact that studies have shown you are not likely to outlive your wife.
- In 2014 every state will have an Affordable Insurance Exchange. The Exchange will be an online marketplace where all of the insurance plans available will be listed. Businesses owners and individuals will have access to all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Small businesses should not panic. The new health insurance plan does not require that small businesses provide a health insurance plan for their employees. The government is aware that smaller businesses often do not offer company insurance plans for their employees because it is not economically feasible for them to offer one. Therefore, if your business has less than 50 full-time equivalent employees, you will not be required to provide a health care plan. For those business owners that want to provide a healthcare plan for their employees, the new law will help the businesses afford to do so.
- Starting in 2014 small business owners will be able to locate insurance plans on the Small Business Health Care Plan Exchange (SHOP). The SHOP is designed to make it easier to find a plan that will work for your company. You will be able to choose how much your plan will cover and how much your company will pay towards employee insurance coverage.
- Small businesses that have at least 25 full-time equivalent employees, pay at least half of your employee’s premium, and have low wage workers may qualify for the Small Businesses Tax Credit. Businesses who qualify for the tax credit will be able to claim a percent of what they pay for employee insurance as a business credit when they file their taxes (35% today and 50% in 2014).
While smaller businesses will not be negatively affected by the new health insurance laws, bigger businesses will be affected by the new laws. A business is considered big if they have 50 full-time equivalent employees. In this tally 2 part-time employees are now considered 1 full-time equivalent employee.
While businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees are not technically required to provide health insurance, they could end up paying a penalty if they decide to forego an affordable employee health insurance plan.
Employees of companies that do not provide a health insurance plan will be legally required to purchase their own. If employees qualify for tax credits to help them cover their insurance, larger businesses will be required to compensate the government.
- If a company does not offer health insurance, the company may need to pay a $2000 dollar fee for each employee after the first 30 full-time employees.
- If a company offers unaffordable health insurance, a $3000 dollar fee may be required for each employee that receives federal assistance. This price cannot exceed what the business would be required to pay if they did not offer health insurance.
Due to the fact that insurance will now be more affordable, small and large businesses should have an easier time providing health insurance for their employees. How well this new plan will actually work has yet to be seen. For more information on current and future insurance plans contact an Atlanta Insurance agent or an insurance agent in your area.