Every year, it seems like there are changes to the laws and regulations that frame the compliance structure we must adhere to as business owners. This upcoming year is no different: In fact, 2017 will signal major changes with a new president in the White House, which could mean that these upcoming adjustments to taxes and insurance policies may shift again.
Although I am not a tax or benefits expert, I’ve studied the information available on these subjects to determine what they mean for me in the coming year. Here are some of the trends that I predict will impact small business owners like myself, along with some procedures I am implementing to address these changes.
Health Insurance Changes
Health insurance requirements have become a challenging and complicated situation for most small business owners in recent years, with financial burden placed squarely on our shoulders thanks to Affordable Care Actregulations. With more of us worrying about being in compliance, it’s important to know what is changing in 2017.
Previously, the regulations on when to file Form 1095 (the proof of insurance coverage) didn’t have hard and fast filing deadlines, and could be as late as March 31. However, the 2017 deadline for filing has moved up to Jan. 31 to ensure your employees get this form just like their W-2. Other healthcare forms have moved up the calendar, with Forms 1094B and 1095A, B, and C due by Feb. 28 via mail or March 31 electronically.
I’ve also learned there are more options for health insurance coverage available to me as a small business owner than just group health plans. For example, anyone with fewer than 50 full-time employees is not even required by law to offer health insurance to their employees. Of course, this is another advantage of hiring outsourced talent or freelancers to complete projects, as there is no obligation to provide any coverage.
However, I do believe this is something that’s so important to keeping employees healthy and happy, especially when they already have many costs to cover in their lives. An alternative option to create an advantage when seeking the best talent to acquire and retain is to still offer this meaningful benefit through a Healthcare Reimbursement Plan (HRP). You can set a defined monthly amount that employees can use to cover the costs of their health insurance premiums. This incentivizes them and keeps you within a set budget, especially given the expectation that insurance rates have the potential to rise upwards of 20% in the coming year.