While the brunt of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t come into effect until next January, now is the time for small businesses to get informed and make plans for the future. Although companies with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees will not be penalized for not offering healthcare, there are several things that they must keep in mind.
Disclosure: At the very least, small businesses are required to inform their employees in writing about the new law and health exchanges. The deadline to do so was originally March 1st, but now information about exchanges should be avaialble to employerts starting in October. If they do offer healthcare, then they also must make sure it complies with the ACA.
Exchanges: Starting in 2014, state health insurance exchanges will be established that allow small businesses to shop for affordable coverage. Businesses with 100 or fewer employees are eligible for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), although some states may opt to lower the requirement to 50 employees or less until 2016. Companies can also choose to shop on the traditional insurance market, and private third party exchanges will be set up as well.
Costs: The question on small business owners’ minds is what healthcare reform is going to cost their business. According to an Urban Institute analysis last year, small business costs might actually be reduced by the new law. Costs per person would only be higher for mid-sized businesses, and large business costs will likely stay the same.
Now is the time to get informed about what Obamacare means for small business, while there is still time to prepare. Know the requirements now so you don’t get blindsided by unforeseen costs in the future.
For the full article, see Obamacare 101