Small Business

Small Business FAQs

Who should I contact for details about group insurance plans?

Contact the insurance carriers directly to discuss options for group insurance. Insurance carriers can be reached at:

Carrier

Customer Support Line

Hours of Operation

Blue Cross Blue Shield of VT

800-255-4550

7:00 am – 6:00 pm

MVP Health Care

844-865-0250

8:00 am – 8:00 pm Mon-Fri, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Sat

Northeast Delta Dental

800-832-5700

8:00 am – 4:45 pm

 

How can I determine if my business qualifies to enroll employees in Vermont Health Connect qualified health plans?

If your business employs between one and 100 employees it may qualify to participate in Vermont Health Connect’s small business coverage. Information on how to count part time employees is available through the IRS. Small business plans are available directly through the insurance carriers.

 

If I decide to offer health coverage, is there a minimum contribution that I am required to make?

In Vermont, there is no minimum employer contribution requirement.  However, in order to receive the federal small business tax credit, the employer must pay at least 50% of an employee’s premium.

 

Do I have to contribute to my employee’s premium costs? 

Employers can decide the amount they can contribute toward the premium cost of each coverage tier.  However, under the Affordable Care Act, an employer could incur a federal employer assessment, or penalty, if the coverage they offer is not affordable or does not meet certain health benefit standards.  Employer-sponsored health coverage is considered unaffordable if:

  • The employee's premium (individual coverage minus the employer contribution) is more than 9.86% of the employee’s household income. The lowest cost individual premium (not family premium) available to the employee is used when making this calculation. 
  • If the employer’s plan is unaffordable using this definition, the employee can purchase a plan through Vermont Health Connect with financial help, and the employer could be subject to the federal employer assessment.

 

If a business does not offer health insurance and its employees buy health plans through Vermont Health Connect on their own, can the business still contribute to a health savings account (HSA)?

Yes. Both Blue Cross Blue Shield of VT and MVP Health Care offer high deductible health plans (HDHP) through Vermont Health Connect that may be paired with HSAs. For more details on HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs, please visit the IRS’s website, or consult your tax advisor.

 

What happens if my business decides not to offer health coverage to my employees?

Depending on the size of your business, you might be subject to an assessment by the State of Vermont, the federal government, or both.

  • There is no penalty for the first four uncovered full-time employees.
  • After the first four employees, your business may be required to pay a Vermont assessment for each uncovered full-time employee.
  • If your business has fewer than 50 full-time employees (FTE), then you will not be obligated to pay a federal assessment if you choose not to offer health coverage.
  • If your business has more than 50 full-time employees, it may be subject to both a state and federal assessment if it does not offer employee health coverage.

Click here to visit the Department of Taxes and learn more about employer health care contribution information.

 

What happens to my employees if I decide not to offer health coverage?

If you decide not to offer health coverage, your employees and their families will be able to purchase coverage through Vermont Health Connect.  Employees in most Vermont households that use Vermont Health Connect and have incomes under 400% of the Federal Poverty Level will qualify for financial help to pay for their monthly premiums and/or out-of-pocket costs.  Vermont Health Connect’s financial help is not available with employer-sponsored plans.

If you have further questions, you can call Vermont Health Connect’s Customer Support Center for more information at 1-855-899-9600.

 

My business employs migrant workers. What resources are available to them?

Download a copy of Migrant Workers & Health Insurance - A Guide for Employers

 

What if my business expands during the year to have more than 100 full time employees?

You can continue to provide coverage through Vermont Health Connect.  A qualified employer that is no longer a small employer solely because of an increase in the number of employees will still be treated as a qualified employer until it otherwise fails to meet eligibility criteria (e.g., business and all employees’ moves out of state) or cancels coverage through Vermont Health Connect.

 

Do I have to offer coverage to my employees’ families?

No, it is not required. During the annual Open Enrollment period, employers can decide whether to offer coverage to their employees’ dependents. There is no tax penalty for employers who do not offer coverage to the families of employees.

Although it seems beneficial to offer family coverage to employees, this is not always the case. Depending on the cost of coverage and the portion of employee’s monthly premiums covered by the employer, an offer of family coverage could do more harm than good. This is because most Vermonters who have an offer of employers-sponsored coverage can’t get financial help paying for coverage through Vermont Health Connect—which could save them thousands of dollars per year on health care costs.

When weighing this business decision, consider the employer’s proposed contribution to family premiums. If the employer does not intend to pay a portion of employees’ family premiums, the family may be better off financially if they are able to apply for financial help through Vermont Health Connect. In this case, offering coverage to employees only (not their families) might be the best way to help the families of your employees to get the most affordable available coverage.