Mar 19, 2014

How a Benefit Administration Company Can Help You Meet the March 31st Deadline for Health Care Coverage: Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions

Do you find it challenging to stay up to speed with the rapidly evolving health care regulations? From choosing the best health insurance plan to understanding the regulation changes for employers, a third-party benefits administrator can help you navigate all the complex health care changes and requirements.

Specifically, as the March 31 deadline for open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace approaches for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to make sure that you have fulfilled all legal requirements and protected yourself and your employees.

Here are the answers to four questions you may be asking yourself as the clock winds down to April:

Do my employees need to enroll in a health insurance plan? 

One way or another—yes. Unless they have a qualifying life event, March 31st is the last day your employees can gain affordable health care coverage and avoid penalty. Penalties will vary based on the household size and annual household income.

Do I need to offer my employees a health coverage plan?

Maybe, depending on your size. For instance, in the state of Massachusetts, if you employ at least 11 people, you must offer your employees a Section 125 plan. This type of plan allows employees to contribute to their monthly premiums with pre-tax earnings. If you do not comply with this requirement, you will be charged a Free Rider Surcharge if your employees use the Health Safety Net due to lack of employer coverage.

What sort of tax credits might I be eligible for?

If your business meets certain criteria and you contribute to 50% of your employees’ health plan costs, you may be eligible for a small business tax credit, worth up to 50% of your contribution. This could mean a 50% contribution will not cost your business any more than a 25% contribution, giving you happier, more satisfied, productive and healthy employees for the same cost.

Health savings like these are easy to overlook if you don’t know where to find them. An expert at health care regulations and benefits will be able to maximize your investments and ensure that you are meeting current regulations and guidelines.

How can a benefit administration plan help my business? 

A benefit administration company can tap into their large membership base to get discounts that you may not be able to get on your own. Not only can they allow you to offer benefits, they can also answer any questions you may have in implementing benefits within your company. The added value of expertise around new and emerging regulations, such as the ACA’s open enrollment deadline, makes a benefits administrator a crucial asset for any small-to-midsized business.

With the March 31st deadline fast approaching—are you ready for it? And will you be truly ready for future deadlines?

AWANE has been handling employee benefit programs for over 25 years. Contact us today if you have any questions about the upcoming healthcare deadline or any other aspect of our benefits administration competences. We always look forward to hearing from you!