According to the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” companies with 50 or more full time employees are required to provide health insurance by 2015, or face steep fines. While 2015 seems far away from now, companies are urged not to procrastinate in taking action. It’s recommended that you have a strategy for the next 12 months, with a goal of meeting the law’s requirements by this time next year. Below are the suggested steps.
If you are already offering health insurance, you should consider renewing early for 2014, as it may help you avoid the premium increases that will go into effect in the new year. If you are looking at offering health insurance for the first time in 2015, it’s a great time to survey your employees regarding the things they are looking for in a health care plan, or even if they would participate in a group plan.
In January, if your state has chosen to build its own marketplace, then it will become available. This is where you can start investigating your options for covering your employees. Depending on the size of your staff, you could find subsidizing your employees to purchase individual plans on the marketplace will be less expensive than purchasing a business plan.
Once you have decided how you want your plan to be structured, you should investigate private health exchanges offering small business plans to see if you can obtain a better deal.
Once your health care benefits are in place for 2015, you will need to teach your staff about their options. Compile an educational packet that is easy to read and understand, and be prepared to answer any questions about the process. This way, everyone will be fully prepared for the open enrollment period in October.