Naperville Business Lawyer Addresses Upcoming Health Care Challenges

health care, small business, Naperville Business AttorneyThe implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, continues to impact large corporations and small business owners across the nation. The legislation, often referred to as Obamacare, was signed into law in March 2010, and over the last five years, provisions of the Act have been slowly rolled out and put into effect. As a business planning lawyer, I have been approached by a number of small business clients in the last few months, however, specifically about the new requirements being implemented beginning in January 2016.

More Small Business Participation

Starting in January 2015, businesses employing 100 or more employees are now required to provide affordable health care coverage plans to their workers. Employers failing to meet the law’s requirements are subject to penalties and fines. A large number of small businesses have been insulated thus far from most of the ACA’s requirements as many are small enough to have avoided inclusion under the implementations to date. The individual health insurance mandate included in the act and subsequent effects on the premium costs of coverage plans have indirectly impacted small businesses, of course, but upcoming changes may greatly affect the cost of doing business for many small business owners.

Beginning in January 2016, businesses employing 50 to 99 people will also be required to offer affordable insurance plans to their employees. In addition, these smaller businesses will be required to file the same calculation documents to the Treasury Department as larger companies in order to verify the coverage being offered is truly considered “affordable” under the terms of the ACA.

Confusing, Time-Consuming Paperwork

With penalties of up to $3,000 per employee for failing to provide the appropriate coverage, businesses have a vested financial interest in meeting the law’s provisions. However, owners are extremely concerned and often confused by the documentation they are expected to complete throughout the process.

Employers must track employees’ hours, a common and fairly easy payroll-related task, to determine the company’s requirement for even providing coverage. More challenging, however, is the mandate that owners track and document the least-expensive plan available to each employee on a monthly basis, which is often dependent on wages, bonuses, worked hours, and attendance. For a business owner struggling to find ways to remain financially viable in an ever-changing marketplace, devoting the required time to the new paperwork may come at significant expense. Outside entities, such as insurance brokers or payroll companies, may be able to absorb some of the additional responsibility at a cost, while others may choose to not even offer such services.

Start Preparing Now

Business and tax experts are encouraging business owners to meet the new health care challenges head-on by becoming familiar with the required documentation as soon as possible. New Treasury Department and IRS forms always create a level of stress for employers because many see them as just more responsibilities and places mistakes can be made. “It’s a labor intensive process,” said Adam Okun, senior vice president at New York’s Frenkel Benefits. He also observed that failure to start gathering the information now will likely result in a “real nightmare next year” for newly affected business owners.

A Naperville Business Lawyer Can Help

As a small business owner, you have a great deal of responsibility for not only your company, but to also to your employees. When you need assistance from an experienced Illinois small business attorney, contact the Gierach Law Firm. For over 30 years, we have been providing clients with quality business, tax, and estate planning legal services and we look forward to helping you. Call us at (630) 756-1160 today.