Over the last few years, millions of small business owners across the country have probably spent at least some time worrying about the ways in which the implementation of the various requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would affect their bottom lines. One thing that might not be helping matters very much in some cases is the Obama administration’s continual delays in rolling out certain aspects of the law as they pertain to small companies.
That is the case once again this week, as the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of the Treasury stated that the financial penalties for companies that offer their employees Health Reimbursement Arrangements – rather than traditional health insurance – will not start rolling out until later this year, according to a report from the Washington Post. These alternatives to health insurance seemed as though they might quickly grow popular among employers hoping to avoid the coverage mandate, but were struck down by the Obama administration; companies that offer them could be penalized as much as $100 per employee per day they go without coverage.
What’s the cause?
The reason for this is much the same as the previous delays in the implementation of the business aspects of the ACA: concerns about companies being able to comply, the report said. While many companies did take on that kind of alternative as a means of keeping their insurance costs down as much as possible, the fact that they were later told that HRAs wouldn’t cut it when it comes to compliance might have sent them scrambling. With this change, the White House is effectively giving companies more time to seek reasonable options that will fit within the strictures of the health care law going forward, giving their employees a reasonable option for finding affordable coverage. Small business advocates lauded the decision.
“This temporary delay serves as an important immediate step to protect small businesses from costly penalties when trying to assist employees with the purchase of health insurance,” said Amanda Austin, vice president of public policy at the National Federation of Independent Business, according to the newspaper.
Owners who are concerned about accommodating the rising costs of health insurance might want to consider the ways in which they can save money on other policies. For instance, if they can reduce costs on small business insurance coverage like liability insurance, they might be able to save thousands annually.