Planning for Healthcare Next Year

Gina Deveney
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Accountants and financial experts are often called in to provide accounting tips and help for private individuals and businesses as they plan for next year's healthcare costs. This is even more important for 2014, as changes to employer-purchased plans and government-subsidized healthcare options may cause quite a bit of confusion and consternation. Many small businesses can use accounting tips on choosing the right plan for their employees, and private individuals need to understand how government-subsidized healthcare options may give them greater access in the upcoming year.

Healthcare accounting advice for small businesses looking for the right plan should include paying close attention to deductibles and copay amounts. Many employer-sponsored plans are changing as companies look to minimize their overall costs by adding higher deductibles. Employees are shouldering an ever-increasing burden, as the average employee contribution to healthcare costs has increased 89 percent over the last decade according to national surveys. Benefits, copays, and initial deductibles are common options when it comes to crafting healthcare plans for employees, and choosing the right set can make a major difference in how the plan operates. Accountants and financial experts working with businesses should pass along these accounting tips to help business owners and managers make the right choices for their organizations.

Government options for healthcare are available on state-run and federal policy exchanges. These options must follow stringent and specific guidelines defined by the Affordable Care Act, and accountants working with private individuals should help them with healthcare accounting tips that make it easy to choose the right plans for their needs. Different plan levels often offer wildly differing benefits, and the projected income for 2014 will determine how much of a subsidy an applicant may receive for purchasing healthcare from the government-run exchanges.

Accountants should make sure to provide accounting tips for businesses or individuals that may not meet the federal requirements for subsidized coverage. States that have not expanded their Medicaid coverage to cover the gap between state-run Medicaid options and federally subsidized programs may leave many citizens without affordable coverage. Small businesses and their employees may also face a similar problem if they offer healthcare plans that do not provide the same benefits as government options, yet are considered affordable. Employer-sponsored plans with employee-contribution rates of 9.5 percent of total wages or less are considered affordable under the Affordable Care Act.                                                        

Accounting experts working with businesses and individuals should understand the upcoming changes to healthcare plans. Armed with the latest knowledge about the Affordable Care Act, they can provide accounting tips to customers and help them make the right choices. The right plan should provide maximum benefits at minimal cost to workers or businesses, and the juggling act involving deductibles, copays, benefits, and premiums is unlikely to be a simple one.



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