Important Obamacare Facts and Misconceptions
Over the past few months, you've probably heard all kinds of noise about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it's more popularly known - at least between keeping up with your business finances and running your business. A lot of the attention paid to this law has been negative and it seems that most people are aware that it exists. However, there is another problem that many have: no one understands whether it affects them or not.
While most people know something about it, there are also a lot of misconceptions about it, and if you're a small business owner who has some serious decisions to make about it, you will want to take a little bit of time to educate yourself. If you don't, you could end up facing some major problems, ranging from angry employees (which you probably never want to deal with) to big federal fines (you probably don't want these either). Sadly, the Obama administration didn't provide a Schoolhouse Rock-esque video for this law. Here are two fact small business owners should know.
The first thing you should know is that the portion of the act requiring your small business to give workers health insurance only kicks in if you have 50 or more employees, and just based on nationwide statistics, you probably don't. The vast majority of companies in the U.S. have fewer than 50 full-time employees on staff, and the vast majority of those who do go over that limit already give their workers health insurance anyway. So realistically, it's a pretty narrow number of companies that will actually be affected by the law at all, despite all the grumbling from some well-known figures.
If you do fall into that small group - which some estimates say only makes up about 3 percent of all companies nationwide - you also should know that you won't be required to buy your workers health insurance for more than a year. The Obama administration announced in early July that it wouldn't put the small business insurance requirement into place until January 1, 2015, so that everyone had plenty of time to get ready for its implementation.
Whether this law affects you or not, some experts say that offering health insurance might even be a good idea for small businesses, mostly because any reasonably qualified candidate for a full-time position would probably consider a lack of health insurance to be a non-starter for their interest in the job. Therefore, at least giving them that option (since there's no law which states they'll have to buy the insurance from you; they can go to the individual exchanges if they want) is probably a good idea.