5 Resources for accountants helping clients with health-care questions
Are you getting calls from self-employed clients and small business owners who are trying to investigate the options for health care plans on healthcare.gov? It wouldn’t be surprising, considering CPAs have historically been among the top resources for human resource compliance issues.
You and your clients may have run into problems accessing healthcare.gov, based on published reports indicating ongoing issues with the website. If you are looking for answers to your clients’ questions and are running into problems accessing information on the government website, here are a couple of resources outside the federal government that may be helpful.
Subsidy calculator: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has a subsidy calculator that allows you or your clients to estimate eligibility for federal subsidies and to gauge premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Basic plan estimates: Entrepreneurs William Welbes and Alex Hardin have developed a site that has very basic information on various plans offered in each state so that you can at least find some ballpark estimates of premiums for various plan levels (bronze, gold, etc.) for various groups (single, family, etc.).
Compliance timeline. ADP has a navigable timeline for employers to track compliance deadlines for the Affordable Care Act. For example, it lists a Dec. 31 deadline for employer group health plans to certify their data and information systems comply with government rules. It also has a calculator for estimating tax credits to small businesses.
Info from the IRS: The Internal Revenue Service has pages spelling out official requirements for individuals and employers.
Specifics on rules and resources: The American Institute of CPAs has a very helpful rundown on many of the relevant tax and nontax rules with which CPAs may want to familiarize themselves. It also provides links to additional resources. The AICPA also has a timeline of tax provisions affected by the law.
Undoubtedly, clients may look to their accountants for objective guidance on their options and the tax implications. Finding out information on the new health care plans and sharing it with your clients is one way to move beyond being seen solely as a compliance specialist. It is one way to offer business advisory services.
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