If your small business lacks a human resources department, a benefits administrator, or anyone else whose job it is to keep up with the dizzying array of changes to health insurance and benefits laws, the idea of offering small business health care can seem overwhelming. Not only do you need to be able to understand the health insurance laws and how they apply to your business and your employees, but you also need to know how to find the most affordable plans.
Fortunately that does not always require a full-time HR specialist, and in some cases you may be able to find what you need using online tools available to every small business owner, along with the guidance that a knowledgeable broker can provide.
Perhaps the best place to start is online at the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace on Healthcare.gov. Despite its rocky roll out in 2013, the website offers lots of information on group insurance options for small businesses. In addition, you can find information about the ACA, how the law applies to your business based on the number of employees that you have, and other rules and regulations.
You can also find details about plan requirements, including the 10 essential health benefits that must be included in every ACA-compliant plan, plus videos, how-to guides, and fact sheets that all small business owners can use.
Figuring out what type of insurance you should offer, and which regulations apply to your business, can also get pretty confusing. Fortunately there are useful tools to help. At the SHOP Marketplace you can find three online calculators that will give you a lot of valuable information about your plan type.
- Full-time equivalent (FTE) calculator – helps business owners understand how a mix of full-time and part-time employees impacts your eligibility to qualify as a small business under the ACA
- Tax credit estimator – provides information about the Small Employer Health Care Tax Credit, whether you qualify, and how much of a credit you can expect
- Minimum participation rate (MPR) calculator – most group plans must have at least 70 percent participation from employees before those employees can enroll, so use this calculator to estimate how close you are
Consulting a Broker
If you still have questions about the best health insurance for your business, the best thing to do is work with a qualified broker whose job it is to keep up with healthcare laws and regulations, understand the intricacies of the ACA, and provide choices for your small business health care plan.
Benefits administration can be difficult, but with the right online tools, you can find and price the most effective plans for your company, allowing you to provide a valuable benefit to your employees.
What other tools and resources do you use online to find the best insurance plans and the most affordable prices?