The value of employee benefits

Employee benefits and health insurance are key elements in attracting and retaining talented staff.
Many employees rank benefits on par with salary when deciding to join or remain with company. The increased national focus on the cost and accessibility of healthcare has prompted employers of all sizes to analyze the costs and benefits of their entire solution.

The vast majority of Americans who have retirement and health coverage receive it through employment-based benefits from either their own or a family member's job. The employee benefit system in the United States today is a partnership among businesses, individuals, and the government. In general, benefits fall into three categories:

Voluntary Benefits: Most employment-based benefits, particularly retirement plans and health insurance, are provided voluntarily by businesses. The government supports these voluntary employment-based benefits by granting favorable tax treatment both to the employers that sponsor them and to the workers who receive them.

Mandatory Benefits: Certain other benefits, including Social Security, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, and family and medical leave, are mandatory under federal or state law.

Individual Programs: The government also supports individual financial security programs through individual retirement accounts (IRAs), favorable taxation of life insurance contracts, and tax-free death benefits.

The Affordable Care Act
Companies are also looking to understand the impact of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Employers need to understand and plan for the new "shared responsibility" or "play-or-pay" employer mandate. Many have questions including:

  • Will my business be subject to the employer mandate?
  • What tax penalties could my business face?
  • What type of health insurance coverage must my business offer in order to avoid tax penalties?
  • How does my business count full-time, part-time, variable-hour, and seasonal workers under the law?
  • Will my closely held businesses be aggregated for purposes of counting employees?
  • What requirements of the ACA apply if my business chooses to self-insure?
  • What additional reporting requirements are required for my business?

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