Most Americans will tell you that health care reform is long overdue. This country has traditionally had the very worst healthcare in the developed world by a longshot. Even those of us who can afford health insurance frequently fly to such farflung locales as India and Bangkok to avoid the bureaucratic and financial burdens to getting care in the US. Health care reform is welcome in this country, but the way that it has been implemented is proving to be a mixed blessing. Here’s what you need to know as a small business owner:
For Businesses with 50 or More Employees
If you run a business with 50 or more employees, you’re going to be faced with the choice of providing each and every one of your workers with health insurance, or paying the federal government a $750 fee per uninsured employee. This will go into action in 2014. If you have between 25 and 49 employees, you won’t have to deal with this.
Small Firm Tax Credits
If you employee 25 people or less or if you are self employed, you may actually qualify for a tax credit thanks to the health care reform initiatives being put into action. This tax credit will go up to 35% of your premiums and will be based on the number of employees who work for you and their average salaries.
Cheaper Insurance for the Smallest Companies
The whole point of health care reform is making health care affordable again. While it sounds scary that the government is going to force us to cover our employees, the fact is that what we pay for health care for those employees a year from now is probably going to be less than what we paid for them a year ago. With the SHOP exchange, small groups can negotiate and exchange health insurance with ease, shopping around for the lowest prices and the best quality coverage.
For the Self Employed
Finally, for the one man/woman band, you are looking at the ability to take advantage of government subsidies for health care. If you are self-employed and earn less than four times the poverty level (as of now, this comes out to $88,000 a year), then you are looking at qualifying in 2014.
Not everybody is happy with how health reform has been put into action, but at least it’s here. Some small business owners may be fine with the bill as is while others may hope to petition to refine and improve the affordable healthcare act over time, but overall, we’re looking at more affordable healthcare for businesses and individuals alike. While it may be scary to hear that the federal government is now forcing you to buy health insurance for your employees, it might not be as pricey as you expect, just so long as you…
Make a Plan
The important thing is really going to be making a plan. Don’t go into the Obamacare era blind. Talk to someone like a B2B CFO who knows their way around the industry and can help you to formulate a plan of action that won’t leave you pinching pennies and taking out a business loan when these laws go into effect over the next couple of years.