As a self-employed business owner, you alone are responsible for the successes and the failures of your business. From performing administrative duties to providing health insurance benefits for you and your employees, it’s up to you to make sure all of the business’ tasks are complete.
Open Enrollment for health insurance is happening now, making it the perfect time to think about health coverage options for you and your business.
Here are four key points that every self-employed business owner should know about health insurance.
- Deadline Dates Have Changed
Open enrollment is two weeks shorter this year than last year, so time is of the essence. Open Enrollment began Nov. 1, 2015 and ends Jan. 31, 2016. If you enroll or change your plan between Jan. 16, 2016 and Jan. 31, 2016, your enrollment or changes won’t go into effect until March 1, 2016.
If you choose to forgo enrolling during Open Enrollment, you won’t be able to get health insurance coverage until the next enrollment period. The exception to this rule is if you experience a Qualifying Life Event, such as getting married, losing health coverage through an employer, or having a child. These are the only situations that would qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.
- The Penalty for Being Uninsured Increased
Americans are required by law to get health insurance or face a fine, also called the tax penalty. The fine is either a flat fee or a percentage of your household income; whichever is higher. In 2015, the fine for those who remained uninsured was $325, but in 2016, the fine more than doubles to $695. Additionally, the household income percentage used in calculating the fine is also increasing, from 2 percent in 2015 to 2.5 percent in 2016.
Regardless of how your fine will be calculated, the maximum fee in 2016 is $2,085. Unless you enjoy writing a big check when filing your tax returns, the time to get health insurance coverage is now. Even if you’re only able to get coverage for a portion of the year, you will save money by avoiding the fine for each month you had qualifying coverage.
- Options Exist Beyond HealthCare.gov
While many self-employed shoppers instinctively visit HealthCare.gov to find affordable health insurance coverage, there are other options. The dedicated agents at the Leb Insurance Group offer the same plans and same information available on HealthCare.gov, but are able to provide consumers with more responsive and personalized assistance.
- Smart Health Insurance Coverage Choices Are a Good Business Decision for Small Businesses
Start 2016 off on the right foot by making informed health insurance coverage choices. Act now to meet the deadlines for applying for coverage. If you’re thinking about going without coverage because you assume it’s not affordable, be aware that the fine for going uninsured has increased, but you may be eligible for tax credits that will reduce your overall coverage costs.
Finally, don’t be afraid to contact the dedicated agents at the Leb Insurance Group, a member of the Healthcare Solutions Team. We can help you better understand your health insurance choices and get you what you need more quickly, letting you get back to the basics of running your business. Get started today!