Reporting Matt Roush
LANSING — The Small Business Association of Michigan Monday launched Decision Point, http://sbam.org/DecisionPoint, an online tool that helps small business owners understand and take action on the health insurance decisions mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
“Decision Point is a dynamic, fact-based tool that is backed by the credibility of SBAM’s combined years of expertise in the small business health insurance arena,” said Scott Lyon, senior vice president for SBAM. “We will provide timely, up-to-date information on this constantly changing law and keep small business owners informed on everything related to health care reform.”
Decision Point is free to SBAM members enrolled in an SBAM-sponsored health plan. The cost is $50 for SBAM members who are not enrolled in an SBAM-sponsored health plan. The cost is $250 for non-SBAM members to join SBAM and gain access to Decision Point.
At the Decision Point website, members will find this information:
* Full-Time Equivalent Employee Calculator — One of the most important points that small business owners will need to understand is how the Affordable Care Act impacts their business relative to the number of full-time equivalent employees they have. Fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees, the Employer Shared Responsibility/Employer Mandate to offer coverage does not apply to the business; above 50 and it does.
* Tax Credit Subsidy Calculator — Business owners may be eligible for a tax credit equal to 50 percent of the employer health insurance costs if they have ten or fewer full-time equivalent employees, average annual wages of less than $25,000 (not including owner’s or owner’s family member wages), the employer pays 50 percent or more of the premium and insurance is purchased through the Exchange. Companies with between 11 and 25 workers and an average wage of less than $50,000 are eligible for partial credits.
* Complete Timeline for ACA Implementation — The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, but the implementation is spread out over many years. Decision Point helps small business owners find out what is currently in place, what’s coming up this year, and what they need to know in 2014 and beyond.
* Employer Mandates – A small business owner’s responsibilities as an employer do not stop with the selection of a health insurance plan for employees and dependents. Benefit plan administration requires employers to be responsible for many additional tasks of the health insurance plans. Among many others, common roles of the plan administrator include selection of an agent, selection of the health insurance plan and carrier, plan communications with employees, determination of employee eligibility, collection of employee contribution to premiums, payment of premiums to the insurance carrier, communication with the selected carrier and communicating with government agencies.
* Employee/Individual Mandates and Potential Penalties — Beginning in 2014, every U.S. citizen and legal resident will be required to have qualifying health coverage or face a penalty. Those without coverage will eventually pay a tax penalty of the greater of $695 per year up to a maximum of three times that amount ($2,085) per family or 2.5 percent of household income. Individuals can use charts to determine what their household penalties may be and the implications of income to subsidy and tax-credit possibilities.
* New Employer Reporting Requirements — In addition to the employer and individual mandate, new coverage requirements, pricing and purchasing options, the Affordable Care Act also brings several new reporting requirements, including providing a Summary of Benefits & Coverage to all employees, notice of ANY plan change at least 60 days in advance, and Notice of Eligibility for Health Insurance Exchange.
* Guide to Choosing Health Care for Your Business – As small business owners prepare for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, the decision-making steps they take this year will become the building blocks of their organization’s health insurance program. SBAM provides a process that small business owners are recommended to walk through as preparation for a meeting with their independent insurance agent. That agent will help small business owners understand how, when and where the ACA will impact their business.
In addition, Decision Point provides an interactive glossary of terms and an explanation of new reporting requirements.
More at www.sbam.org.