One way to make money is to save money. Whether you are a large corporation, an entrepreneur, or a startup, you’re always looking for ways to save money. In the interest of saving, have you taken a good look at your group health insurance policy and benefits?
Rising Healthcare Costs
The average income for U.S. households in 2011 was $50,054, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau. A gross estimate of that amount breaks down to a monthly income of $4,171.16. If monthly premiums are $1,362.58 for a family health plan, that family is spending nearly a third of its income on health insurance. The only other option is to go without.
Affordable Care Act
The passage of “Obamacare” mandated that businesses with full-time workers making up more than half of their workforces must provide health insurance benefits to full-time workers. Businesses that don’t comply are fined on a per-employee basis. That could be a substantial amount depending on the number of employees left out of the benefits loop.
The mandate only applies to businesses with more than 100 employees. It makes allowances for businesses with 49 or fewer employees and offers tax credits for businesses with fewer than 25 full-time workers. None of this applies to part-time employees, which are defined as employees who work 29 hours or less each week. Confusing? Yes.
Insurance and Benefits Consulting
For businesses struggling to understand all the ins and outs of Obamacare, a professional benefits consulting firm can help. You need to know which employees are considered full-time or full-time equivalent (FTE), where to find insurance, and how to comply with the myriad other requirements of the mandate, so it makes sense to work with a consultant.
Benefits consultants work with a variety of insurers to provide clients with the best value in a health insurance plan. Being independent of insurance companies allows them to truly weigh all options and suggest plans without bias.
Once employed only by larger organizations, benefits consultants now work with all sizes of companies to leverage resources and obtain the best price and plan for their clients. A consulting firm can offer:
- Expert advice on the marketplace and analysis of different insurers.
- Up-to-date information on changes in the law and how they will affect you.
- More resources than brokers and agents.
- Specialized knowledge of group benefits.
- Access to research teams and industry data.
- Provide day-to-day management of your employee health insurance plan so you can concentrate on running your company.
Employers who have less than 100 full-time workers can use a state-sponsored exchange, or marketplace, to purchase group insurance plans for workers. These exchanges are used to create bigger pools of buyers, who can then benefit from cost breaks that only large organizations were able to take advantage of previously.
The marketplace aims to provide a more level playing field for companies that may have overpaid in the past. Businesses are not required to shop in the marketplace, but they still must meet minimum coverage amounts offered through the marketplace. If you need help navigating the mandate and health insurance, seek expert advice from a consulting firm that can help you plan for the future.