Small Business Health Insurance Optionsby Denise Early on Aug. 30, 2013, under Health
I attended two meetings on the Affordable Care Act this week. The first was a conference in Tucson that focused on small businesses. The second was an all-day CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) program in Scottsdale for organizations that will be involved in promoting the Arizona Marketplace and enrolling people in individual health insurance.
There was too much to write in one post so I’ll write about the Tucson small business meeting first.
The Tucson meeting explained how the SHOP will work for small businesses to compare options and enroll their employees in health insurance. In order to get tax credits for providing health insurance to their employees (and paying half the premium cost), companies with fewer than 25 employees must use the SHOP. SHOP is an online exchange and stands for Small Business Health Options Program.
The half-day meeting featured Meritus Health Partners (a new health insurance cooperative), a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), an insurance broker, and a small business owner. The program featured a case study of a local business that offers health insurance to its employees and has older workers.
WHAT I LEARNED:
Small business health insurance decisions require detailed analysis and number crunching – and an experienced insurance broker who can do some of this work. Using an insurance broker and a CPA will be very important.
Small businesses with employees who are female and older (in their 50′s and 60′s), will likely see lower premium costs in 2014.
Dropping health insurance for employees can save a small company a lot of money – but the marital status and family income of each employee will determine if this benefits or hurts the employees. Many single employees earning $30,000 to $40,000 would get substantial help with their health insurance premium costs if they go to the individual Marketplace. But if a person is married and their spouse works, their combined income might put them over the $62,000 limit for getting premium help.
Some employers, like the company featured in the case study, see health insurance as an important benefit for their employees – even if it is a big expense.
The majority of the attendees at this small business meeting were women. Is it women who handle employee benefits and HR tasks?
The insurance broker and CPA had all the answers.
I don’t have group health insurance experience, so I will leave this to the experts – because that’s what a small business needs when analyzing their health insurance options on and off the SHOP.