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The spotlight is on healthcare coverage in personnel policies

Last year, many Georgia small businesses were able to put off providing healthcare coverage for their employees. This year, companies with at least 100 full-time employees must comply with the Affordable Care Act or face penalties. Consequently, many companies are revamping their personnel policies.

So far, small businesses are not flooding the Small Business Health Options (SHOP) exchanges. However, they are not required to use the SHOP exchanges to provide insurance to their full-time employees. Sources indicate that businesses are taking their time and considering all of the options before moving forward.

Full-time workers are defined as those who work 30 hours per week or more. In order to avoid high health insurance costs, some small companies are redefining part-time hours. Other businesses are raising the deductible on their coverage or limiting health insurance offerings to employees. In some cases, businesses are considering paying the $2,000 per employee per year fine, which could be less than the cost of providing medical insurance. Companies with less than 100 employees may decide to encourage their employees to obtain their own insurance.

Complying with federal and state regulations is a large part of any Georgia business. Failure to comply with those regulations often results in fines and possibly other penalties. Changing personnel policies might be a viable way of maintaining compliance. Now that companies that fall into the parameters set by the ACA must comply with it, a thorough review of a company's current policies and structure could provide additional options to allow the business to remain profitable while avoiding regulatory complications.

Source: CNBC, "Small businesses 'aren't clamoring' for enrollment", Kate Rogers, Nov. 17, 2014

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