03 20 2017

Health care law changes for small businesses

03 20 2017

Health Care Law Changes Could Affect Small Business Owners

Health insurance is an incredibly complex and confusing subject. Not many people can confidently explain all the fine details of various health insurance policies. At the same time, health insurance can be deeply personal. People rely on their health insurance plans to provide them with the treatments and check-ups they need to stay healthy .

Between these two aspects of health insurance as a whole, it’s understandable that people would be worried when talk of changes to health care law comes up, especially after many people finally found solace in a new plan structure.

With such a sensitive, yet commonly misunderstood, topic on the verge of change, it can be difficult to assess what the consequences of Trump’s promise to repeal and replace Obamacare will be.

One population that is particularly concerned about the effects of a healthcare upheaval is small business owners.

Some things will stay the same

President Donald Trump’s language regarding the ACA has been, at times, quite strong, calling the law “disastrous.” But there are some aspects the president did appreciate, and has said he will retain in his replacement law. For example, children will still be able to remain on their parents’ plans until age 26. Additionally, companies won’t be able to charge extra or deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, according to a side-by-side law comparison from The Kaiser Family Foundation.

Another feature created by the ACA that won’t change under the American Health Care Act is employers’ abilities to encourage wellness incentives for people who opt for their company’s group health plan to meet wellness targets.

Health Reimbursement Plans come back

One feature of the new health care rules that will please many small business owners is the re-emergence of the stand-alone Health Reimbursement Plan, according to Forbes. Banned under the ACA, HRAs were once commonly used as an alternative to pricier group health coverage.

Once the ban on stand-alone HRAs went into effect, there were fines issued to employers who continued to make contributions to their plans, unbeknownst to 16 percent of small business owners, who continued to be fined without their knowledge. The reintroduction of HRAs comes paired with a retroactive penalty relief.

Some new aspects to the reintroduced HRA include:

  • A $4,950 cap on employee-only insurance.
  • A $10,000 cap on family insurance.
  • Employers can contribute to the HRA, not employees.

The details of the new health care law are still being worked out, and it’ll be some time before the effects on small businesses are clear. But as changes come through, it’s important that all small business owners stay up to date on current legislation. No matter your opinions about Obama’s or Trump’s health care laws, it’s crucial to know what is expected from you as an employer.


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