The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is heralding in many changes for business owners with and without employees. It is important for business owners to stay on top of the changing regulations to meet obligations as well as know what is ahead when planning for business growth.
The good news is that as the deadlines near for individual and business action, more public information will be available about enrolling in the individual Marketplace and Small business Health Options Program (SHOP). However, these are not the only options when considering whether a company should offer insurance coverage for their employees. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension recently launched a healthcare website for businesses to help the employers and non-employers better understand how the ACA regulations will affect their business and learn what coverage options are available. It is a great starting point for a business owner to open discussions with their attorney, accountant, insurance broker and other knowledgeable business advisors.
Important dates to remember:
• October 1, 2013 – Marketplace and SHOP open for enrollment. Individuals can purchase coverage through Marketplace for themselves and their family members. Small employers can purchase insurance coverage for their employees through SHOP. For 2014, SHOP is restricted to employers with either 25 or 50 employees, depending on state regulations.
• October 1, 2013 – Deadline for employers to provide to all their employees a notification of coverage that informs the employees if coverage will or will not be available to them through the company.
• January 1, 2014 – ACA law requires all individuals to have health coverage for 2014. For individuals who do not have coverage in 2014, they will be assessed a tax of $95 or 1% of income, whichever is greater.
• January 1, 2015 – New effective date that employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees must provide health insurance coverage or incur a tax.
There are numerous others deadlines and regulations that small business owners needs to know. Visit the University of Nebraska health care for business website for more information and talk with business and insurance advisors to further assess coverage options.