Reimbursing employees for healthcare costs? IRS now penalizes small businesses for just that.

What is a small business, (less than 50 employees), to do? You cannot offer the same packages for healthcare as the large companies, and now the IRS will penalize you $100 a day per employee if you reimburse healthcare costs for your employees in a non-compliant plan.

For your larger competitors the Affordable Care Act only penalizes a maximum of $2000 for not offering insurance to their employees. In comparison trying to cover your employees could cost you up to $500,000 a year in penalties. If you have a Health Reimbursement Plan the time is now to make sure your plan is compliant with the Affordable Care Act. The IRS penalty waiver announced in Notice 2015-17 ran out on June 30th, 2015. 

So what is considered a compliant plan? 

1. One that uses after-tax funds. And the point of this would be? Now you are just providing more taxed earned wages and providing a bill payment service for your employees. Only a portion of what you spend would actually help out the employee you are trying to take care of.

2. Group health plans and high-deductible health plans. If you could afford these to begin with it is unlikely you were operating a healthcare reimbursement plan.


The very nature of these penalties is against the spirit of the Affordable Care Act. Lets hope congress can get this figured out soon.