healthreform-200x200Perhaps no one is being affected more by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) than small business owners. They’re the ones who’ll likely feel the greatest effects of the new requirements, so many business owners are already looking for ways to offset the increased cost.

What’s being required of companies varies depending on their size. Smaller companies (those with 50 to 99 full-time employees) will be required to provide health benefits by 2016.  Those with 100 or more will have to offer benefits to 70% of their employees by 2015 and 95% by 2016.

As a result, many are offering higher deductible plans, which reduce employer and employee costs up front but can pose a problem for workers when the deductible must be met. Many are also taking advantage of health savings accounts and employee wellness programs.

While the cost increase is greatest in Washington, Pennsylvania, California, Indiana, and Kentucky, almost no one is unaffected. Some companies have seen their health care premiums almost double from what they were a year ago.

While finding ways to reduce cost and remain profitable, one of the most important things business owners should be doing is staying informed to ensure they’re being compliant. It’s also important to clearly communicate with your employees about their options and any changes that occur.

How Can You Best Prepare for 2015?

Here are the most important things employers should know as 2015 approaches:

  • If you have 50-99 full-time employees, you’ll need to start offering health insurance by 2016. Start researching your options now.
  • If you have 100 employees or more, you’ll need to offer health benefits to 70% of them by 2015 and 95% by 2016.
  • If coverage isn’t offered, you’ll face a fee of $2,000 per employee annually.
  • If an employee receives a premium tax credit due to coverage being unaffordable or failing to cover 60 percent of the total cost, you must pay the lesser of $3,000 for each employee receiving a credit or $750 for each of your full-time employees.  It’s due monthly and isn’t tax deductible.

For more information about these regulations, check out this article from TLNT, visit IRS.gov, or contact Sequoyah Group today.