When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, one of its main objectives was to make health care provision more affordable for small business owners. While the law was passed in 2010, its implementation began slowly in phases. Now, it has been three years since the early stages of the law’s implementation, and its benefits and its cracks are beginning to show.
Pros: For many small businesses, the costs of providing health care had become a financial burden. Although the Affordable Care Act has not eliminated this problem, its mandates do not currently apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Small businesses that choose to provide health care for full time employees may qualify for tax credits to offset the cost. According to Kaiser Permanente, “The tax credit is available to qualified small businesses that participate in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The maximum credit will be available to employers with 10 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees and average annual wages below $25,000. Businesses that receive state health care tax credits may also qualify for the federal tax credit.” The Affordable Care Act has also made health insurance more accessible to employees, making it easier for them to get preventative screenings and to be treated for illnesses in the early stages.
Cons: Many of the drawbacks of the Affordable Care Act occur once a business reaches 50 plus full-time employees. Monster.com recently posted a blog titled, “Affordable Care Act 2016 Requirements for Small Business,” in which author Reva Nelson states, “Companies [should] look into their plan options, since they won’t be able to continue on their old plans. Employers with 51-99 employees would primarily do this to keep from being forced into small group age rating of premiums and small group ‘metal’ products.” The new mandate requires businesses to offer plans that adhere to the law’s regulations, which could be more expensive than what they are currently offering. If your business is growing, meet with a legal specialist to see which parts of the Act may affect you.
The Affordable Care Act has definitely hit some speed bumps in its implementation, and some of the intricacies may need to be tweaked, but it also has benefits for people and their employers.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger for Small Business Pulse
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