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.
After a great year, giving back to your employees can be very beneficial for your business. CNBC cites that “more than half of small business owners say that offering a [retirement] plan helps attract better employees.” A profit sharing plan is one way that you can use your business’ financial success to you and your employees’ benefit.
Every day (well, at least Monday through Friday), I get a chance to meet with small business owners. Some of these business owners started their company because no one would hire them. Some started because they were tired of working for someone else. Some because they saw an opportunity to do what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. Many found a niche doing something no one else was doing and turned it into a lucrative business.
In my travels, I get one common concern from employers that reaches across all industries and sizes: It’s hard to find and then keep good employees.
You’ve heard of all the offerings companies provide to help them address this issue: better benefits, more pay, flex time. The list goes on and on. What’s the best one that’s out there? That obviously depends on who or what you’re looking for.
Flu season is normally bad for businesses, but 2018 may be much worse than usual. The New York Times reports that “this year’s flu season is now more intense than any since the 2009 swine flu pandemic and still getting worse,” which creates havoc both for you and your workers.
You can’t always prevent the flu or stop employees from getting sick, but you can offer them the means to receive quick, affordable attention from a medical professional. Telemedicine is an attractive benefit that gives employees 24/7 access to physicians via phone, video, or internet chat and benefits your business. Here’s why you should consider offering telemedicine to your employees this flu season.
When you run a business in a competitive industry, it can be difficult to find and retain employees. The Society for Human Resource Management conducted a survey and found that “95 percent of HR professionals rated health care as one of the three most important benefits to employees.” In short, benefits are big.
Of course, every prospective and current employee may have different health needs. While a group health insurance plan provides employees with medical coverage, there may be some additional health needs that don’t fall under your base plan. This is where a supplemental insurance plan can give your business an edge in attracting new talent and retaining quality employees.
Small business owners weigh many factors when deciding whether to invest in a group health insurance plan, but oftentimes the decision comes down to dollars and cents. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey notes that the high costs of insurance premiums are the primary reason why firms won’t offer health benefits. Even for business owners who do offer plans, rising insurance premiums can create a lot of stress and confusion, especially if the owner doesn’t know how these premiums are calculated and how they can manage them.
Employers can have many questions for group health providers, and that includes exactly how much they can expect to spend. Here’s a rundown on what the insurance industry uses to calculate your group health insurance coverage premium, as well as some strategies that can lead to lower costs.