Nearly a third of small businesses say finding a health insurance plan that fits a wide variety of employees’ needs is their biggest frustration, according to CEB Research. Accountants, as trusted advisors, are often called upon to help small business clients figure out their insurance needs. Accountants can provide unbiased information about the types of benefits that small businesses generally offer, including voluntary benefits.

Although health benefits represent a substantial investment of time and money, they help clients attract and retain top talent, increase productivity and reduce absenteeism, while gaining a tax advantage. More than half of employees cite benefits as an important reason they stay with their current employer.
Wellness plans have been perceived as being too expensive, but developing a healthy work environment for employees can benefit in terms of employee satisfaction, productivity, less absenteeism, and possibly lower health plan premiums.

Generally, small businesses with less than 50 full-time employees will not face penalties if they do not offer coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  In Oregon, certain small businesses, with less than 25 full-time equivalent  employees, that offer insurance to all full-time employees, can receive a tax credit of 50% as long as the employer pays at least 50% of the premiums, and have the average earnings of all full-time employees no higher than $50,000 a year. http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/insurance/gethelp/health/Pages/smallbiz_healthcare.aspx

Small businesses can purchase health insurance for employees using the new small business marketplace called the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) located at Healthcare.gov.  To use SHOP, you must offer coverage to all full-time employees.  To discuss how to minimize risks associated with your business and tax consequences of adequate coverage to your employees, please contact us.