If there’s one topic that’s on everyone’s mind in 2016, it’s healthcare. Business owners and franchisees need to be aware of a few changes and updates that affect how they do business and the health benefits they are required to offer employees. Read on to get the information download.
You May Be Required to Offer Health Insurance
Even if you didn’t have to offer health coverage to employees in the past, that may change this year. Now, any company with 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (those working 30+ hours weekly) is required to provide health insurance to at least 95% of them (as well as their children), or pay a fine.
Even if you don’t have that many full-time employees, you have to take an average across all employees, so many franchisees are taken by surprise that they are required to provide health care. This threshold was reduced from 100 FTEs, so make sure you determine whether you need to start offering coverage under the new rules.
And even if you don’t have 50 FTEs, you are still required to offer health plan options that cover 60% of allowed medical costs for your full-time staff and their dependents under age 26.
You Can Now SHOP for Health Plans
If the idea of figuring out what health plans to offer your team stresses you out, check out Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). This online marketplace lets you compare plans and manage them once you purchase. You can select only the coverage you want to offer, and you have the option to work on your own or with a qualified insurance agent or broker.
Penalty Fines are No Joke
Before you decide you can’t afford to comply and offer your full-time employees health insurance, consider the alternative. The government is cracking down on businesses that don’t offer the mandated health coverage, and are fining negligent companies as much as $2,000-3,000 per employee. In the long run, it’s more affordable to follow the rules and offer the required health insurance.
Certain Health Benefits are Now Required
Beginning this year, the following healthcare services are all covered under every health care plan:
Outpatient care, including management for chronic diseases
Mental health and substance abuse services
Pediatric services including dental and vision care
Pregnancy and newborn care
Preventive and wellness services, including counseling, screenings, and vaccines
It’s always a good idea to stay on top of the changes in the healthcare scene, as they greatly affect you as a business owner.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.