A topic of contention for many people in 2014 is the Affordable Care Act. No matter which side of the fence you are on, if you are an employer and you hire writers, sales representatives, mechanics or construction workers, then you are responsible for dealing with the health insurance situation. Yet for SMBs the news of the ACA only confounds business owners and human resource offices, as they are looking for the best approach to dealing with the overhaul of the US health insurance system. Of course, there are several other ways you can avoid having to mention the words “Affordable Care Act” in your SMB.
Keep Numbers Low
One of the first distinguishing factors of whether a SMB will be required to provide health insurance is in the number of full time employees hired by said company. If your company has fewer than 50 full time employees, then you can avoid the ACA issue for the present moment. The issue here is if you want your financial numbers to climb, you will need to increase your production or service load. In other words, to grow you need to hire more employees, which means you’ll only receive a temporary reprieve from the ACA—if you are lucky.
An interesting way to avoid the ACA while growing your company is to move beyond full time or even part time employees. Choose the route of operating a business without any employees on your payroll. No, I haven’t gone sci-fi here, just freelancer. You can fill a vast assortment of positions at any business via freelance workers. Just a few of the most common freelance jobs includes:
- Website developer
- Content, press release, news report and grant writers and editors
- Graphics designer
- Virtual office assistant
- IT department
- Social media manager
- Customer service and marketing representatives
As an aside, individuals who are working as freelancers are exempt from enrollment and from the tax or penalty associated with the ACA for as long as they are working and living in a country other than the US.
Getting a Job in the ACA Economy
Worried that issues with the ACA will have a negative effect on hiring new employees? One clear concern is that there is an incentive to hire part time or freelance employees over full time employees. This would place the task of signing up for health insurance on the part time employees or freelancers who are left to deal with the situation on their own. Furthermore, these individuals might not be able to work as many hours as they need in order to earn a living now that they are not working full time.
However, employees might see that this offers them greater freedom in regards to their health care coverage. Instead of being forced into a group plan with a high deductible, part time and some full time employees have the option of joining a national plan that is not directly connected to their job. According to Brian Kropp, CEB managing director states that for 2014, hiring trends are favoring the freelance and part time employment option due to the ACA: “Because of this separation, what we expect to see is more employees move to a freelance relationship with their employer.”
Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.