There are some interesting strategic benefit options that have gotten lost in the bluster surrounding Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The first is easy:
• Businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not required to provide health insurance benefits for their employees. If your head count hovers around the 50 mark, you have a decision or two to make. (If you have fewer than 25 full-timers and meet other stipulations, you may qualify for a tax credit if you offer health coverage.)
The second option is more intriguing:
• Businesses with 50 or more full-time employees that do not provide health care coverage beginning in 2014 face fines up to $2,000 per employee.
But canceling what often is expensive health benefit coverage and paying the fine instead is an interesting choice that at least some businesses are considering. The fine, explains Tim Lavin, could be less costly than an employer’s contribution to employee health care premiums.
“The ACA,” says Lavin, “almost incents business to take the penalty charge (because) doing so may be cheaper.”
Lavin, president of The Lavin Insurance Agency, Schaumburg, says employees in such situations could go to the Illinois Affordable Insurance Exchange to purchase low-cost coverage — assuming the state gets its Exchange set up. The Exchange, expected to be functioning
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