The healthcare exchanges open for enrollment for individuals and small businesses alike nationwide beginning on October 1, and while a lot of attention has been paid to how many company owners across the country are pessimistic about the ways in which these marketplaces will affect their enterprises, some are a little more hopeful.
The availability of health insurance coverage through these individual exchanges may be a boon to small businesses if they employ workers who tend to be approaching their official retirement ages, according to a report from MSNBC. In many cases, they may not feel as though the coverage they currently receive from their employers is sufficiently covering their medical requirements, and will now have the option of buying their own, which could be more tailored to their unique needs.
Further, those people who may be working jobs just to receive the insurance may therefore be afforded greater options, the report said. That kind of flexibility may also benefit companies because it theoretically helps to get people who could be more motivated and capable of jobs into them.
"The Affordable Care Act completely changes the playing field," says Paul Fronstin, director of the health research programs at the Employee Benefit Research Institute. "You don't need your employer any more for health benefits."
In all, a recent study by the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center and Georgetown University found that as many as 1.5 million Americans could become self-employed because of the added flexibility that the ACA's exchanges might be able to provide them when it comes to additional coverage options, the report said. That's more than 20 percent of the total of 7 million people who are expected to sign up for the individual exchanges nationwide.
However, it's also important that owners do all they can to educate themselves and their workers about the changes the ACA will bring for their small business insurance needs overall. While each company will have their health insurance costs change in different ways, it may be helpful to review costs for all kinds of policies, including those for liability insurance, as a means of making all a company's coverage needs more affordable. Doing so may bring added flexibility that helps owners to better assess all the options available to them and help both their bottom lines and employees.