Small Business Challenge: What Does Health Care Reform Require?

Do you know what the heath care law requires of you, Mr. or Ms. Business owner? Do you know when these provisions and laws take effect? Your responsibilities are about to change, so you want to be on top of the new challenges to running your business. Here are some basic points about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This information comes from a quiz on the PPACA in the August issue of Employee Benefit Adviser magazine. It is a short take on a long bill, so it is not inclusive.

Employers with “Cadillac” plans must implement their plans starting in 2018 and are responsible for the excise tax calculations on these plans. Most small businesses do not offer these plans. Cadillac plans are often offered in businesses with unions. Plans that not collectively bargained would not lose their grandfather status if there is a change in third-party administration, but they would lose the status if there is a change in cost-sharing, scope of benefits or insurance carriers. Many companies with the best Cadillac plans have sought, and received, waivers from the federal government to exclude them from the provisions of this law, stating the law is too onerous for them. Good luck trying to obtain an exemption for your business, however.

Large and small employers will be allowed to offer insurance through state health exchanges, but the states will decide which employers can do so. Employers must offer health coverage for every employee working at least 30 hours per week. Beginning in 2014, employee waiting periods after enrollment can not exceed 90 days. In 2013 employee annual Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) will be capped at $2,500. These benefits must be used. If the money is not used it is lost to the employee. Expect to see some confusion about FSAs, Health Savings Accounts, Medical Savings Accounts, other cost-saving plans. Most of the changes in this Act will transpire in 2014, so we have a couple of years to figure out what to do.

The Small Employer Tax Credit will cover businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees. It is unclear what that could mean right now. Any business with more than 200 full-time employees is required to automatically enroll all new employees in a health plan. When companies are enrolling their people, they have to provide an “opt-out notice” at the same time. Employees will have the opportunity to decide if they will participate through their employers. If a company has fewer than 100 employees, it can establish a Cafeteria Plan. These plans are allowed under the Internal Revenue Service code, Section 125 plans. These plans can benefit employers and employees by saving on taxes paid while offering a variety of products that can be voluntary. Please see www.IRS.gov for more information on these plans.

Some requirements of the plan state that chiropractic services need not be included as an essential service. The new rules allow families to choose a pediatrician as a primary care provider and dependent children must be covered until age 26. After January 1, 2014 no one can be excluded from coverage for a pre-existing condition. There is confusion about lifetime limits on the coverage provided. While not germaine to the problems of business owners as a group, your employees will need help to understand the rules. For instance, nonessential benefits have lifetime limits; some limits could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (disabilities tend not to disappear over a lifetime) and state laws could prohibit certain benefits. Lifetime is a vague term, especially in legal contracts with providers and purchasers. If people start to life well into their nineties, lifetime benefits for all could become a Pandora’s box for the parties involved. The fun is just beginning in trying to decide what this means for you and your employees.

These are just a few little teasers about what is part of the PPACA and your business responsibility. About 10 days ago the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled the Act unconstitutional. Conventional Wisdom, aka the pundits, are saying this Act will appear before the United States Supreme Court by next spring at the latest. This will prove to be an interesting fight. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I will keep providing you with some essentials on the Act to keep you informed. You want good information to make good decisions. Stay tuned.

Health Insurance Know How

Why do you need health coverage? These days, a single day in the hospital can cost thousands of dollars. The financial risk you take without health insurance coverage just isn’t worth it.

Several things you should keep in mind when buying health insurance: Will I be able to afford the monthly premiums? Selecting a plan that fits your budget and lifestyle is most important. If you can’t afford the monthly premiums, you will have wasted a lot of time selecting a good plan option. Individuals should make sure to select a plan that covers the basic needs that are most likely to be used and available without meeting the plans annual deductible; like office visits to see a doctor with a copay, good preventive care most likely covered at 100 percent, emergency room visits and prescriptions, especially generic, all without meeting the annual calendar year deductible. Next, don’t select the lowest deductible, the lower the deductible the higher the monthly premium. Also, don’t select the highest deductible, you just might have to meet that deductible if you develop an illness or have an accident that requires a lot of testing, treatment and followup doctor visits.

Finally, make sure you read your policy information after you receive your id card and contract booklet. Know when premiums are due and the grace period most plans have to get your payment in before being cancelled. Then go online and select a great doctor from the plans website for the policy you purchased if you don’t have one. Most insurance companies will provide details on where the physician went to school and the hospitals they are associated with. Having a great doctor can save you lots of money and get you on the right track for a healthier lifestyle.

Affordable Health Insurance in Atlanta – Low Cost Plans Online

Before you spend a dime on health insurance be sure to do some research and get several competing quotes online. There are many good deals available on the Internet for personal, group, family, college student, and small business health care insurance in Atlanta.

Atlanta Health Insurance Plans

One plan that is gaining popularity fast is a (HSA) health savings insurance plan. Major medical coverage as well as preventive care is provided with this type of plan. This type of plan features higher deductibles than other types of health insurance. They also provide an automatic savings account to pay for deductibles if you have an accident or illness.

Similar to HMOs, and PPOs an HSA uses a network of doctors and hospitals to provide complete medical care to it’s members. These networks are usually very large and have providers wherever you may live in America. Discount medical service is given to members of an HSA plan allowing you and your insurance company to reduce medical costs.

Many variables are possible with an HSA plan such as deductibles, catastrophic limits, coinsurance, copays, preventive care, and prescriptions. Monthly premium savings can be quite substantial so be sure to look at what an HSA has to offer before you buy your next health insurance policy.

Health Insurance in Atlanta Quotes

One of the best ways to find affordable Atlanta health insurance is to go to an insurance quote website and request quotes. Immediately after you complete their short form, you’ll get several low cost HSA, HMO, PPO, and POS quotes while still online. After you have your quotes, you can compare the different policies and see if one will work for you. It’s that easy!