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Louis Balbirer

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Guest Blog: The Affordable Care Act Part 2 – What’s Ahead for Small Businesses?

Posted by Louis Balbirer on Wed, Sep 24, 2014

Louis BalbirerLouis Balbirer of Kaufman Rossin writes a guest blog post for NetMinder about changes related to healthcare reform. This is the second post in a two-part series discussing opportunities and challenges of the Affordable Care Act. The first part of this series focused on large businesses.

In the four years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there have been a number of changes that can make it difficult for small businesses to interpret their responsibilities under the law. 

At the latest C-Suite Breakfast Series, co-sponsored by Kaufman Rossin and Vistage, a panel of experts discussed changes for small and large businesses brought on by the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, panelists told us what’s better, what’s worse and what’s ahead for small business owners.

Panelists included:

What are some opportunities for small businesses?

Small businesses, defined under the healthcare law as having 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, are exempt from many ACA requirements. The Affordable Care Act presents many small business owners and their employees with opportunities for tax credits, lower insurance rates and more extensive coverage.

The following are some of the ways the ACA could benefit smaller businesses:

  • The Federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace allows small business owners to control the coverage they offer to employees and the premiums they pay for coverage.
  • According to the panelists, the quality of insurance coverage and healthcare are expected to increase because the Affordable Care Act mandates a broadened scope of coverage for certain conditions that were previously uninsured.
  • The lack of penalties for dropping insurance and the availability of the Exchange for employees make it easier for small employers to save by choosing not to offer health insurance for their employees.
  • Additional delivery systems allow employers to choose how they offer insurance to their employees. SHOP, the Marketplace and private exchanges allow employers to veer from the traditional model (or continue with it) when selecting health insurance options for their business.
  • Small businesses with 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are eligible for a maximum 50% tax credit if they pay premiums on behalf of their employees enrolled in a qualified healthcare plan through SHOP.

What has the Affordable Care Act made more challenging for small business?

Although they are exempt from parts of the healthcare law, small businesses still face some challenges as a result of the ACA.

The following have been made more challenging since the passage of the Affordable Care Act:

  • Employers must participate by buying and paying SHOP fees even if only one employee participates in an insurance plan.
  • Some small business owners will need more resources (including more employees) to properly comply with the tracking and reporting requirements under the ACA.
  • Some employers are discouraged from hiring because they do not want to have to comply with the pay or play mandate required of businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Employees who work 30 or more hours per week are considered full-time under the ACA.

What’s ahead for small business owners?              

Small business owners should prepare to comply with the upcoming reporting requirements under the healthcare law and consult their broker and accountant with any questions, including how ACA-related tax changes may affect their tax bill.

I spoke with Joy Batteen, director of human resources at Kaufman Rossin and a panelist at the C-Suite Breakfast Series, about important next steps for small business owners.

“If a small business is considering hiring a broker, but is concerned about the cost, now is the right time to make that move,” said Batteen. “Hiring a knowledgeable broker – someone you can trust – makes dealing with ACA changes much easier. The law will affect different employers in different ways; the most important thing businesses can do is be prepared.”

Louis Balbirer, CPA, is a director of tax services with Kaufman Rossin, one of the top CPA firms in the U.S He has 20 years of experience providing tax and accounting services to clients and can be reached at lbalbirer@kaufmanrossin.com.

 

Tags: NetMinder, health insurance, Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, healthcare reform, health reform, healthcare benefits, ACA, healthcare exchanges, insurance companies

Guest Blog: The Affordable Care Act Part 1 – What’s Ahead for Large Businesses?

Posted by Louis Balbirer on Fri, Aug 29, 2014

Louis BalbirerLouis Balbirer of Kaufman Rossin writes a guest blog post for NetMinder about changes related to healthcare reform. This is the first post in a two-part series discussing opportunities and challenges of the Affordable Care Act for small and large businesses. Material shared here was presented at the C-Suite Breakfast Series event, co-sponsored by Kaufman Rossin and Vistage.

By January 1, 2015, large businesses will need to decide if they are going to extend coverage to their employees or pay the annual fee for declining to “play.” For businesses, understanding their obligations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now and in the coming months is more important than ever.

The ACA was the topic of the most recent C-Suite Breakfast Series. A panel of experts discussed the impact of the Affordable Care Act on small and large business.

Panelists included:

What are some opportunities for large businesses?

Companies with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees are considered large businesses under the healthcare law. Large businesses are subject to many rules under the ACA that do not apply to small businesses.

The Affordable Care Act presents several opportunities for large businesses related to the insurance coverage options they provide to their employees.

  • The opening of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace to businesses with 50-100 full-time employees in 2015 will offer employers additional insurance plan options.
  • According to the panel discussion, quality of insurance coverage and healthcare is expected to increase for employees at large businesses.
  • The delay of the Employer Shared Responsibilities Provisions until January 1, 2015, for businesses with more than 100 full time equivalent employees, allows employers more time to strategically position themselves to provide insurance in order to avoid associated penalties. Qualifying businesses with 50-100 full time equivalent employees have until January 1, 2016, to comply with the provisions.
  • Businesses that choose to participate in health insurance plans can use benefits as a recruiting tool to potentially attract higher-quality candidates than those who choose to pay the fees associated with not providing coverage.

What has the Affordable Care Act made more challenging for large businesses?

Large businesses have a greater responsibility than small businesses under the Affordable Care Act. A number of deadline changes have made the roll-out of the healthcare law even more confusing for large employers. Added expenses, additional reporting and mandatory coverage for all full-time employees are further complicating the process for large employers.

The following challenges face large businesses under the healthcare law:

  • Reporting responsibilities for large businesses mean added infrastructure is needed. In 2015, large businesses must start reporting on whether insurance was provided to employees, what type of coverage was offered, and some companies may be required to report on the value of the insurance provided to each employee on his or her W-2.
  • Guidance and regulations continue to evolve, making it challenging to plan and comply with the law.
  • Cost of insurance has increased (in most cases) due to plan design limitations and fees or taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act.
  • Insurance rates may increase for employers if plan participation is low.
  • Employees may not be able to keep their current insurance plans due to ACA mandates.
  • Large companies that do not offer affordable coverage may be subject to penalties of up to $3,000 per subsidized employee.

What’s ahead for business owners?

Large businesses need to decide if they are going to pay or play by the January 1, 2015, deadline.

“When we talk about next steps, I recommend that companies prepare for the compliance and reporting requirements,” said panelist Alexis DeLuca. “Inevitably, whether a large business chooses to pay or play, they’re likely going to end up with a larger reporting burden than they planned for.”

According to DeLuca, businesses should take steps to ensure they are ready to comply with the changes as they roll out. Investing in the infrastructure needed to accurately report, capturing the required data and planning ahead for annual assessments of health insurance options by contacting an insurance broker or a tax advisor will help large businesses manage the impact of Affordable Care Act.

Louis Balbirer, CPA, is a director of tax services with Kaufman Rossin, one of the top CPA firms in the U.S. He has 20 years of experience providing tax and accounting services to clients and can be reached at lbalbirer@kaufmanrossin.com.

Tags: NetMinder, health insurance, Affordable Care Act, insurance broker, healthcare reform, ACA, healthcare exchanges, Health plan

Guest Blog: How Will Affordable Care Act Affect Your Tax Bill?

Posted by Louis Balbirer on Wed, Jan 29, 2014

David Merzel of Kaufman Rossin CPAs

Louis Balbirer of Kaufman Rossin writes a guest blog for NetMinder about tax changes related to healthcare reform.

Several tax changes are being rolled out as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here are a few that may affect you or your business this tax season.

Refundable Tax Credits


  • Health Care Tax Credit (aka Premium Assistance Credit)
    – Individuals or families with less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level can qualify for the health care tax credit for the 2014 tax year, which can be applied in advance toward health insurance premium payments to the exchange. 
  • Small Business Health Care Tax Credit – Small businesses that offer health insurance to employees and cover 50 percent or more of the insurance premiums might qualify for a tax credit. Employers can complete Form 8941 to find out if they are eligible.

Additional Taxes Under ACA for 2013 Tax Year

  • Net Investment Income Tax – A new 3.8% tax will be assessed on net investment income for individuals with modified adjusted gross income above $200,000 (above $250,000 for married filing jointly and above $125,000 for married filing separately). Net investment income includes interest, dividends, rents, royalties, capital gains and other passive income.
  • Additional Medicare Tax – Individuals with wages or self-employed earnings that exceed $200,000 will be subject to an additional 0.9 % Medicare tax. For those who are married filing jointly, the threshold is $250,000 and it is $125,000 for those who are married filing separately.

Contact your accounting professional to learn how these ACA-related tax changes will affect your tax bill.

Louis Balbirer, CPA, is a director of tax services with Kaufman Rossin, one of the top CPA firms in the U.S. He has 20 years of experience providing tax and accounting services to clients and can be reached at lbalbirer@kaufmanrossin.com.

Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare reform, ACA, employee benefits, medicare, health care tax credit, premium assistance credit

 

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