The Two Biggest Challenges Facing Business Owners in 2015 (Part II)

Drawing of regular size person sitting on top of a defeated giant

This two part series highlights the two biggest obstacles business owners face this year. Part 1 talked about the challenge of the economy and how employers can deal with our struggling economic recovery and potential backslide.

The 2nd giant is not as surprising, and definitely something on the mind of every business owner this year: Health care reform.

You don’t have to live with this pile of entremanure in your stable. Make a few smart moves and you might just be able to keep your boots clean.

#2 ACA and Health Care Reform

Since 2010, when these laws were enacted, the ACA has been a giant in every sense of the word. Health Care Reform has taken center stage yet again this year and is proving to be as complicated and arduous for employers as we all thought it would be.

With the new IRS reporting requirement forms now finalized, and other compliance requirement deadlines related to plan design, waiting periods and others in effect, ACA is really starting to rear its ugly head. Add in the continually rising costs of health insurance premiums, and we’ve got a real mess on our hands.

You can protect yourself from this one too. Begin by understanding the requirements that fall on your specific business. After doing your research and you know what is required of your business, then get the help and support you need. Do you have the ability to coordinate the data that is needed to fulfill the new reporting requirements related to time tracking, HR, and benefits? If not, it’s time to look for a solution.

Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees are not the only ones with requirements to worry about, all employers will be facing this giant this year. For an overview of what you should have on your radar read here.

Here’s some tips and considerations to help your business beat Health Care Reform in 2015:

  • Know your “full-time equivalent employee” count – if you calculate your FTE status and discover you are right under 50. You may want to hold steady and not hire more employees. If you are right over the 50 mark, say 53, consider knocking that number down to 49. Businesses with 49 or fewer full-time employees have significantly less reporting and compliance requirements placed on them.
  • Similarly, examine your schedule of hours worked for employees. Those who work 30 hours a week or average 30 hours a week are considered full-time equivalent employees and count towards your FTE total count. Instead of eliminating employees consider adjusting their work schedules to be 25 hours a week to help you stay under the 50 mark.
  • Do a cost and benefit analysis of paying the $2,000 penalty for uninsured employees vs. the $3,000 penalty per employee who goes to the exchange. For some employers it might be cheaper to have uninsured employees and just pay the penalties.
  • Provide a health care plan that meets the minimum Bronze level qualifications. You could avoid costly penalties by complying in this manner.
  • Small group employers (under the 50+ FTE) need to be aware of health reform and state requirements for dental and vision stand alone plans if your medical plan does not cover all of the essential health benefits, such as pediatric dental and vision coverage.   In other words, if you are under the 50 FTE and are not an applicable large employer, while you are relieved from the mandates of a group health plan, you are still mandated to provide minimum essential health coverage (EHC) for pediatric dental and vision coverage. This means you need to make sure your medical plan has the coverage, or that your dental and vision plans (stand alone plans) provide the required coverage.

You Can Beat These Giants

It feels good to come out on top. This is one of the many satisfactions that make chasing the American Dream worth the effort. The small victories each and every day keep you going. We know you can do it. David took down Goliath. We’re positive you’re going to take down a couple giants of your own this year — we’re rooting for you and here to help.

In order to tackle big challenges like these, a great place to start is getting the small stuff out of your way. We can help with this! We allow you to have 100% of your focus on your business instead of the common entremanure like payroll, hr documentation, benefits administration, workers’ comp, safety and other compliance and administrative tasks. We offer a complete solution for this, learn more here.

What other giants do you think should be on the top of this list this year? Share them with us in the comments below…

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