The date on which consumers across the country will be able to sign up for the individual health insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act is just days away at this point. However, many small business owners may not know that despite the one-year delay in the marketplaces designed specifically for them, they still have a few obligations under the law.
One major part of the law that many small business owners may simply not be aware of is that they are supposed to notify their workers, in writing, about the availability of the public exchanges and their ability to sign up for them starting on October 1, according to a report from the Associated Press. Moreover, they should also do all they can to make sure they know about many of the ins and outs of the law; while the bill itself comes with a large number of requirements and is thousands of pages long, it's vital that they do what they can to figure out their specific obligations given the size of their companies.
Further, there may be some confusion related to the Obama administration's announcement in early July that it would delay the small business exchanges from 2014 to 2015, and what that will mean for their chances for finding the most affordable coverage for their workers should they want to provide it, the report said. For these reasons, studying government websites which feature frequently asked questions lists about the law and what it could mean for them is likely vital at this time.
"They need to understand the exchanges, the difference between individual exchanges and the SHOP," Lisa Keith, president of Princeton HR Solutions in Princeton, New Jersey, told the news agency. "They need to understand minimum value (the government's definition of affordable insurance)."
Even with the small business marketplaces and rules delayed a year, it might also be wise for owners to try to get up to speed with regard to compliance now, rather than waiting until this time next year, the report said. This will potentially save them a lot of headaches and time that could be better devoted to other issues.
Owners worried about costs the ACA might bring for their businesses, it may be wise for them to reduce their other small business insurance costs. By finding less expensive policies for workers' compensation and general liability insurance, they may be able to free up substantial amounts of money that can instead go toward health insurance costs.