Prior to the new Health Care Reform law of 2010, the U.S. had no law requiring employers to provide group health coverage to employees. Most employers choose to offer health care options to their employees as an attractive benefit to recruit the best talent. Currently, most Americans, about 60%, get their medical coverage through their employer.
However, the new 2010 legislation does add some compliance issues that small businesses should take to mind. Here are some important considerations.
Health Insurance No Longer a “Benefit”
Employees looking for jobs often take into consideration the health care coverage a potential employer offers, including medical, dental, vision, disability, and even long-term care. These types of benefits make providing for oneself and family much easier and were a great ‘carrot’ to offer new hires.
With the new law, most small businesses will have this added benefit to offer employees, making the perk a diluted and expected portion of total compensation. Since health care will be more readily available, medical benefits will not be the perk it once was to potential new hires.
Mandatory Health Insurance Coverage
The new law dictates that businesses with 50 or more full time employees must provide medical coverage options or be hit with government fines. If you fit this category and currently do not provide group medical coverage to employees, you have some time to do your research to find a good medical carrier with decent rates and programs.
If your company has fewer than 25 employees, you may have an easier time. You will not be required to provide medical coverage, but you can apply for temporary coverage subsidies for employees with lower incomes. Additionally, any size small business may be eligible for additional tax incentives and subsidies for providing health care coverage.
The new health care reform law will not take full effect until 2014. You have time to make necessary changes or additions to your employee group medical plans that can help make it a more attractive recruitment tool than your competition.