In business, as in life, it's always good to stay ahead of the curve, even when that tricky curve takes an unexpected detour in the form of a one year delay in the implementation of a major requirement of the Affordable Healthcare Act. For Memphis public relations firm owner, Deidre Malone, the cat is already out of the bag.
"I probably would have paused and thought about it for a minute or two," says Malone.
Just days before the Obama administration's decision on Tuesday to delay until 2015 the requirement for medium and large companies to have healthcare coverage plans in place for their employees, the eight person full-time staff at the Carter Malone Group had received their new benefit packages on July 1st. Malone admits when the mandate to supply her workers with healthcare was first introduced, she approached it with some trepidation.
"I had mixed feelings. You know I believe everybody should have an opportunity to have insurance. I think that's important," she explains.
"But, I do also know that as a small business owner I knew that was going to affect my bottom line."
Malone's plunge into the employee healthcare morass started in February when she hired a human resource firm to gather the facts about various insurance plans and then advise her company on how to proceed every step of the way. She and her employees settled on a plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
"It was healthcare. It was dental. It was vision. It also included life insurance…We're paying fifty percent of the health insurance, all of the dental and vision and all of the life insurance," she says. "Our firm is small. I believe in trying to keep the employees that you have, especially if you're happy with them. So, to be able to offer those additional benefits, I felt like was an additional bonus to the employee."
As for how much it's going to cost her company? Well, you and I both know healthcare doesn't come cheap. But, now as an "early bird" participant in the required employee healthcare field, what advice would Malone pass along to employers who now have a year to procrastinate? Use the time to do more than just think about a plan.
"How much do you appreciate your employees versus how much can you actually afford to pay for the benefit? Then figure it out. You gotta crunch the numbers," she says.
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