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Insurance News

  • What Constitutes a Group for Health Insurance?

    When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, U.S. businesses received a new federal requirement: provide health insurance to all full-time employees or face steep penalties from the IRS. This is known as the employer mandate.

    The new law made an exception, though. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees weren’t subject to the employer mandate. This is still the case today.

    Most small businesses still want to provide health benefits, though. Offering a good health benefits package helps businesses hire and keep talented workers, and many businesses feel they have a duty to provide for their employees.

    But meeting group health insurance requirements is often difficult. In addition to the costly premiums, small businesses question whether they’re large enough to qualify for group coverage and if they must meet any participation requirements.

    In this post, we’ll answer these questions as well as discuss some group health insurance alternatives for businesses interested in other approaches to benefits.

  • How Does an HRA Work?

    Offering traditional group health benefits has grown increasingly difficult for small businesses. It's too expensive, too complex, and too one-size-fits-all.

    But small businesses recognize that dropping benefits altogether isn't a solution. Instead, many have begun adopting personalized health benefits. With personalized health benefits, small businesses give employees tax-free money to spend on the health care products they find most valuable.

    These benefits help businesses control costs while reducing administrative requirements and giving employees greater flexibility.

    One of the most popular forms of personalized health benefits is the health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). With an HRA, a company offers employees a monthly allowance, and employees buy what fits their needs. The company then reimburses the employee up to their allowance.

    The HRA has changed through the years, though. There are now several types of HRAs available, and many small businesses want to know exactly how they work and how they compare.

    In this post, we'll go over the basic structure of an HRA and explain how it works. We'll also examine four of the most prominent types of HRAs, exploring how they work and how they differ from each other. Finally, we'll look at how an HRA works with personalized benefits automation software—a new administration choice among small businesses.

  • Small Business Health Insurance Costs: What Can You Expect?

    Offering group health insurance is expensive—especially for small businesses.

    Businesses with fewer than 50 employees typically have smaller budgets, have fewer management resources at their disposal, and struggle to meet participation requirements. All that considered, the total cost of offering a group health insurance policy goes far beyond the pricy premiums.

    In this post, we’ll go over all the costs a small business can expect when offering group health. We’ll also discuss how businesses can control their costs by offering alternatives, like a personalized health benefit.

  • The Average Cost of Health Insurance for Small Business in 2017: Study

    Small businesses continued to face cost increases for group health insurance in 2017, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals.

    Kaiser's "2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey" found that annual group health insurance premiums for businesses with fewer than 200 employees totaled $6,486 for single coverage and $17,615 for family coverage.

    That's a slight increase over the annual premiums of $6,429 for single coverage and $17,546 for family coverage in 2016. Overall, premiums for all group health insurance policies have increased 19 percent since 2012.

    Perhaps as a result, the percentage of small businesses offering group health insurance fell to a historic low, according to a study from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Just 29 percent of businesses with fewer than 50 employees offered group health benefits in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available.

    In this post, we'll review the most relevant findings from the study and explore how small businesses handle these cost increases—whether by dropping coverage or adopting personalized health benefits like the qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA).

  • Are QSEHRA Reimbursements Taxable?

    One of the primary benefits of offering a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA) is the tax advantage available to both small businesses and their employees.

    With the QSEHRA, all payments made through the benefit are free of payroll tax to both the business and the employee. Employees can receive QSEHRA reimbursements free of income tax as well, provided they're covered by a health insurance policy providing minimum essential coverage (MEC).

    Many QSEHRA participants and small business owners have questions about what this means in practice. In this blog, we’ll go through several common employee scenarios and explain the tax implications of each. We’ll also explain how employees should account for QSEHRA reimbursements while filing income taxes.

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