Following a 19.1 percent-32 percent hike in 2018, 2019 Obamacare rates are expected to rise by double digit percentage points, again. Though speculation by market experts have resulted in a slew of responses as to why premiums have continued to rise, 2019’s increase is one of the most cut and dry responses by insurers to current reform changes. Within this article, we’ll explore the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, which happens to be one of the pillars the ACA was built on: the individual mandate.
When your employees are ailing, your business is also likely to suffer. The health and wellbeing of your employees can play a big part in your company’s success, as a happy, healthy workforce has several benefits, including:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced absenteeism
- Decreased medical costs
Many small business owners have turned to workplace wellness programs to help improve the wellbeing of their employees. Over time, these programs have evolved to address specific issues to better serve employers and their employees. Here are some recent wellness trends than may be a good fit for your business.
When small business owners decide to offer health insurance to their employees, they don’t have to find a plan by themselves. The process can be very complicated for people without an intimate knowledge of how health insurance works, so owners typically turn to brokers or PEOs to guide them through the process. While both PEOs and brokers have the same general goal—to find you quality, affordable health insurance for your business—they work in different ways.
With the soaring costs of healthcare in the U.S., many citizens feel they are left with little to no alternatives when it comes to significant surgeries and procedures. This has helped propel many to look into the latest trend of “medical tourism” in an effort to get the operations they need without breaking the bank.
Citizens may be uneasy about the idea of receiving care outside of the United States, but there are some great facilities and specialists in other countries where the same level of treatment—or even better in some cases—can be received at a fraction of the price. That was the case for GMS employee Christine Mace when her husband Dan required hip surgery back in 2016.
As we brace ourselves for undeniable regulatory changes within the healthcare industry, often we neglect conversation about the shortcomings of our current system to ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes. Although many would agree that the intentions of the ACA (“Expand access to health insurance, protect patients against arbitrary actions by insurance companies, and reduce costs”) were created with social good in mind, experts are strident that the mechanisms used to create this social good have failed to correct the economic epidemic that currently infects our healthcare system.
If you think “economic epidemic” is a hyperbolic term to use in this context, think again. As referenced in my previous blog post about the continuing battle to repeal the ACA, the U.S. domestic healthcare system costs around $3.3 trillion to the American economy each year. What’s less known is that this figure is projected to continue rising as it has almost every year since the 1960s.
Health insurance comes with many responsibilities for small business owners. Regardless of whether you’re trying to cut health insurance costs or reward specific employees, you may wonder exactly how those responsibilities affect who you offer health insurance coverage. Can you pick and choose who can be a part of your health plan, or are there federal regulations involved? As you may expect, there are some rules you need to follow.
Even if you only follow on the fringes of healthcare reform, the inception of the ACA in 2010 may have shed light on the lack of bipartisan effort surrounding reform policies. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you sit, the ACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) is widely regarded as the most impactful healthcare policy since the rollout of Medicare & Medicaid by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. Irrespective of the clout this policy holds in the eyes of leaders within our domestic healthcare system, it has not operated within its short eight-year tenure without controversy.
The debate surrounding the longevity of this policy continued last Thursday (June 7, 2018) in unprecedented manner as the Justice Department filed a briefing recommending that the U.S. District Court of Texas (Fort Worth Division) rule the insurance reform provisions of the ACA unconstitutional.
It’s not uncommon for small business owners to wonder exactly what their responsibilities are when it comes to health insurance. With all the uncertainty that can surround healthcare, it’s understandable that owners may be unsure of what the future holds, or what they need to do to make sure their business isn’t violating any legal requirements. Those requirements can depend on the size of your business and if you offer healthcare coverage.
To start, small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are not required to offer health coverage. However, these businesses are still required to provide a report about healthcare information to employees. This reporting should cover certain information about the marketplace, such as what it is and how employees can contact the marketplace.
Despite it not being mandatory, many small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees still make the choice to provide workers with health insurance because quality healthcare coverage can help businesses attract and retain top talent. This decision can be very beneficial, but it does mean that small business owners will need to take on a few new responsibilities.
The fiduciary rule has had a bumpy ride in the past few years. After initially going into partial effect in June of 2017 and targeting Jan. 1, 2018 for a full rollout, the move to have all financial professionals who work with retirement plans follow the same fiduciary ethics and standards was postponed until July 1, 2019. Now MarketWatch reports that the Fifth Circuit Court “struck down the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule” in a split decision Thursday, March 15, 2018.
This may not be the end of the fiduciary rule, however. According to Forbes Contributor David Trainer, the fiduciary rule may still make an impact even after being struck down. Trainer writes “While the ruling could end the Fiduciary Rule as law, it cannot erase the awareness the DOL [Department of Labor] raised, nor can it stop market forces leading the business towards a more ethical place.”
So, what does this mean for business owners? The fiduciary rule wasn’t designed to directly impact you as an owner, but it does affect the financial advisors connected to your business. Here’s a quick rundown of how the fiduciary rule can still make an impression on financial advisors and what that may mean for your business.
Wellness programs have become very popular in recent years. In its 2017 Employee Benefits Survey, The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 24 percent of organizations added to their wellness benefits, which was the biggest increase for any benefit during the year.
While more businesses are investing in wellness initiatives, some owners may ask how effective workplace wellness programs really are. The answer to that can depend on your goals.