Health Insurance Tips for New Business Owners
You’ve decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of being your own boss and have taken the plunge by starting a business. Congratulations! Becoming a business owner is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming process, filled with continual opportunities to learn and grow. As a new business owner, it’s up to you to take care of all of the details — from payroll taxes and business licenses to obtaining health insurance for you and your family. If you initially feel confused about the ins and outs of health insurance, you’re not alone — many new business owners have been in your shoes. Let’s take a look at the top tips new business owners should consider when examining health insurance options.
1. Don’t Skip It
If you’re young and healthy, or simply don’t go to the doctor very often, you may be tempted to “take your chances” and forgo health insurance coverage. Don’t make this mistake. The reality is that none of us knows what the future holds — and without health insurance, one car accident or devastating diagnosis could wipe out everything you’ve worked for. Additionally, federal law mandates that every individual carry health insurance or face a tax penalty. Make the responsible business decision and ensure that you are covered.
2. Explore Your Options
As someone who’s self-employed, you have many options available when it comes to obtaining health insurance. For example, if you’re married and your spouse has coverage through his/her job, you may be able to join your spouse’s plan and receive coverage. If you’re a young entrepreneur (under age 26) and your parents have health insurance coverage, signing on to their plan may also be an option.
If neither of those situations applies to you, there are plenty of options available through the health insurance marketplace that was created as the result of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There is a variety of government and third-party websites that makes it extremely easy to research, compare and purchase the health insurance coverage that works best for you. Open enrollment is available every year from November through January, but if you meet certain criteria you may be eligible for a special enrollment period any time of year.
3. Take Advantage of Subsidies
A main tenant of the ACA is to ensure that health insurance is affordable for individuals and families — after all, it’s called the “Affordable” Care Act for a reason. The government offers tax credits that can help cover some of the cost of your insurance. As you’re shopping for health insurance and exploring your options, it’s important that you get a good idea of what types of subsidies you may qualify for, as this will help you be more informed as you compare your options and make your decision.
Certainly, starting a new business is both exhilarating and a little scary, but obtaining the health coverage you need as a business owner doesn’t have to be. Make a commitment to yourself and your business by ensuring you have health coverage. Then, perform your due diligence, exploring all of the health insurance options available to you. Finally, take advantage of any tax credits or subsidies for which you are eligible to keep your costs down. The smart health insurance decisions you make today will have a positive impact on your business and your health tomorrow.