Obamacare Self-Defense Strategies For Small Businesses
Obamacare has made providing health insurance confusing for many small businesses. Small business owners are struggling with rising health premiums and wondering if it might be smarter to just cancel their group health plan and send their employees to the exchanges to purchase health insurance.
But before you make any rash decisions about cancelling your group health plan, consider these Obamacare self-defense strategies that could make Health Care Reform easier to deal with. (For the full report, click here: Obamacare Self Defense Strategies)
The Health Care Reform Mandate Does Not Apply to ALL Small Businesses
Many small business owners wrongly think that they have to provide health insurance coverage to their employees or they will receive a penalty. Small business owners with less than 50 Full Time Employees are exempt from the mandate. However, even if you employ less than 50 FTE’s but hire seasonal part-time workers, you could go over the thresh hold and be deemed a large employer. In this scenario, you will face a penalty if you do not offer a health plan.
Self-Defense: Your business must include all full-time employees (30 hours of service per week) plus the full-time equivalent of your part-time employees. To calculate the full-time equivalent of part-time employees, add the number of hours worked by your part-time employees in a given month and divide the total by 120.
The sum of the full-time employees and the full-time equivalent of the part-time employees is the number used to determine whether your business is an applicable large employer. If the sum is 50 or over, you are a large employer and will required to provide health insurance or pay a penalty.
Higher Co-Pays and Deductibles are the New Normal:
The standardizing of the Essential Health Benefits in Metal Plans – Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze – has brought some tremendous surprises to health insurance shoppers. The new plans have much higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs than most of us were used to.
According to a Health Tracking Poll released by the Kaiser Group, sixty percent of consumers know little or nothing about the health insurance plans they have and how The Affordable Care Act (ACA) impacts them. Many consumers don’t take the time to read the policy details of their health plan to see what is covered and how much out-of-pocket expenses they will have. Many make their buying decision solely on price of the health plan.
Self-Defense: Make sure you shop around on and off the Exchanges and review the different health plans that are available for your company. Before you decide on a small group health plan, utilize the services of a health broker or consultant that is familiar with the new plans under Health Care Reform. He or she will be able to help you pick a health plan that will be a good fit for your company and your employees based on your needs.
New State Exchange Health Plans Have Smaller Networks
People are going to their doctors or specialists for annual physicals or medical care and are surprised to find out that their medical treatment is not covered. They are being billed by their doctor and the insurance company because their doctors have dropped the network. Most people check the insurer’s online directories to see if their doctor or hospital is in the network but do not realize the directories are outdated.
Self-Defense: Before signing up for a new health plan, double-check with your doctors by calling their office to make sure they are in the network. Many doctors, specialists, emergency physicians and anesthesiologist are deciding not to participate in the new insurance Exchange programs because insurers have cut reimbursement rates.
These are just a few strategies you can use to protect yourself and remain compliant with Obamacare. If you would like more information, download our complete guide: Obamacare Self-defense Strategies