How PPACA Will Affect Your Business The Next 5 Years?

Tod Covert  By Todd Covert, Executive Vice President of ACA Track

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – also known as the Affordable Care Act or ACA – is the landmark health reform legislation passed by the 111th Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. The legislation includes a long list of health-related provisions that began taking effect in 2010 and will “continue to be rolled out over the next four years.” Key provisions are intended to extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, to implement measures that will lower health care costs and improve system efficiency, and to eliminate industry practices that include rescission and denial of coverage due to pre-existing.

What does it mean for business today?

Business With 50-99 Employees 2015

Key Point #1

Navigating through transition relief to determine the date you need to make sure you are in compliance.

Applicable large employers (ALEs) with fewer than 100 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, may have until 2016 to offer health insurance to eligible employees and their dependents without facing penalties.

This transition relief is available to employers who can certify that they have not reduced their workforce to remain under the threshold and have not materially reduced or eliminated health coverage previously offered. This certification needs to be included with your filing under Section 6056 for 2015.

The IRS will still grant transition relief to employers who reduced their workforce for “bona fide” business reasons.

Key Point #2

If you are over 50 FTE (Full-Time Equivalents) or part of a control group (Parent Company) with more than 50 FTE than you MUST file the 1095-C and 1094-C even if you do not offer coverage.

Key Point #3

Don’t “expect” your payroll company to complete these 1094-C and 1095-C forms.

Why?  Most payroll companies don’t even track the information required to complete these new IRS forms—It is more a benefit enrollment and plan design function than payroll.

  1. Dates of hire and waiting periods determine when employees are in the limited assessment period. Partial months are treated uniquely differently than full months and the series coded will change. Most payroll vendors only track deductions.
  1. Termination, rehire dates and class changes impact offer of coverage and safe harbor designations. Employees with a number of changes during the year can see a variety of different codes appearing on form 1095. Not a payroll function
  1. Offer of coverage determines whether 70% (2015) and 95% (2016) levels are reached or significant penalties are to be paid. Not a payroll function
  1. Safe harbor designations and income drive affordability calculations. Not a payroll function
  1. Transition relief provides the ability to mitigate risk and avoid penalties altogether.  Not a payroll function

Key Point #4

Start balancing culture and cost now because the “Cadillac Tax” is on the horizon in 2018—It’s not a matter of “IF” we hit the Cadillac Tax it’s a matter of “When” we hit the Cadillac Tax.

If health insurance exceeds $10,200 in premiums for an individual or $27,500 for a family. The tax amounts to 40 percent of the cost above that threshold AND its Non-Tax Deductible.

Why do we say “When” we hit the Cadillac Tax?  The insurance cost threshold ($10,200 in premiums for an individual or $27,500 for a family) only increases at CPI each year which is about 3.1% and Healthcare inflation increases close to 8.0% thus the X & Y axis lines are eventually going to cross.

Please join us September 29th for Women Accessing Capital: 5 Things You Need to Know About the New 1094-C and 1095-C IRS Reporting. Register now! 

The Lack of Mentorship for Working Women

Mentor

by Annie Wilson, Intern

In today’s modern business world, it is widely accepted that mentorship relationships can be beneficial, especially in the context of career mobility. Young professionals can benefit from mentorship as a way to elevate their career status and attain high level positions in their company or obtain a second opinion for their career strategy. For entrepreneurs, mentorship can help a company thrive immensely by just having the benefit of vetted experience and advice that a mentor can provide. This advising can be crucial in the startup phase of a business as mentorship advice is an incredible asset to tap into in the preliminary stages of business development. With more and more startups and entrepreneurial activity in today’s modern world, mentorship is as crucial as ever for eager young business owners who are looking to start their own business.

However, historically it has been more difficult for women to have accessibility to mentors as opposed to men and this trend has been made clear in a number of ways. Peggy Drexler, a gender and business blogger for Forbes, outlines the current state of female mentorship in her recent article, “Can Women Succeed Without a Mentor?” In her findings, she reports that according to a 2011 McKinsey Report 53% of entry level positions are occupied by female employees but, as the jobs increase in caliber, female representation starkly declines at 37% for mid manager positions and 26% for vice president positions and above. This decline leaves a disproportional ratio of potential mentors to mentees and purports that with fewer women occupying higher level positions, there are fewer women eligible to mentor. Another factor in female mentorship is that women often feel as though they cannot allocate the appropriate time and effort to mentor somebody due to familial time constraints. In fact, a study from the American Psychological Association reported that the female figure that young women wanted to emulate the most were working executives who balanced their professional and family lives. However, this was the group that had the least time to mentor. An additional explanation to the lack of female to female mentorship sources from the problem that mentorship benefits are not being made readily apparent to mentee candidates. According to networking organization Levo League, 95% of millennials have never sought out a mentor. Perhaps this trend stems from the generational attitude towards self-sustainability in the workplace that is commonly associated with the millennial generation or that workplace environments are not making an effort to forge these relationships. According to the 2010-2011 World Economic Forum Report assessing gender diversity in 20 countries, only 59% of companies said they led internal mentoring programs and only 28% of companies had programs specific for women. Even if one of these factors holds truth in a working environment, female mentorship can clearly be difficult to obtain.

A mentor-mentee relationship can be a mutually beneficial for both participants. Mentees gain the benefit of learning from the mentor’s own processes in their early stages and the lessons and learning opportunities can be extremely impactful for a developing young professional. However, the mentor benefits in a very clear way as well. Mentors are often forced to change their way of managing and teaching to best communicate with their mentee, especially if there is a generational difference. The mentor may become more confident and efficient in working with younger professionals in general and their management skills as an aging professional are given an added dimension of flexibility. Not to mention, working with a mentee opens up a whole new professional network that a mentor can have better access to. Many mentors also see mentorship as a way to give back to the industry they invested their career in and as a way to perpetuate their work ethic and methods into the generations to come.

Barbara Corcoran, co-founder of Corcoran Venture Partners and investor on the hit show Shark Tank, reveals 3 traits to look out for when finding a mentor:

  1. “Choose a mentor you want to be like, not just someone you like. When you choose a mentor, pick someone you wish to emulate. It’s their “know-how” you wish to learn, and you learn more when you respect who’s teaching.
  2. Look for a mentor who is brutally honest. Compliments are always nice, but they won’t propel you to greatness. You need a mentor who won’t hesitate to give you difficult feedback—someone quick to call out your strengths andyour weaknesses.”
  3. Choose a mentor who has also failed. I fail often and fail well, and I’ve learned how to sniff out great success in the midst of failure. Sharing that belief can keep your company bold and motivated and miles ahead of everyone else afraid of failing.”

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or finding one, ask around in your work environment to see if there are any ongoing programs that your company offers. If not, check out this great article giving advice on how to find a mentor or these mentorship organizations:

Meet the World’s Youngest Self-Made Female Billionaire: Elizabeth Holmes.

by Annie Wilson, InternEH

According to Forbes, Elizabeth Holmes has been named the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Earlier this month she was named as Time Magazine’s List of 100 most influential people. Her billion dollar idea?: a revolutionary way to make blood testing accessible for anybody. Holmes’ company, Theranos, created a system that brings together a minimally invasive and needle free method of blood withdrawal with hundreds of low cost tests that almost anyone could afford. Holmes’ intention is to restructure our healthcare system to be more preventative as opposed to a reactive:

“The current health care paradigm is one in which diagnosis often takes place after symptoms are already present, and diseases have begun to progress. We’re committed to changing that. We’re pioneering a new paradigm in which lab testing is accessible and affordable for everyone. When cost is no longer a consideration and people no longer have to be symptomatic in order to get a test. Meaning your patients can get the tests they need, and you can get the information you need, early and in time for therapy to be effective.” – Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos website

Holmes attended Stanford University but dropped out at the age of 19 to start Theranos in 2003. Since then, Holmes has impressed investors with the potential commercial, military, and humanitarian applications of her idea. Holmes has also acquired a very impressive board of directors, including former cabinet secretaries George Shultz, Bill Perry and Henry Kissinger, two former Senators, a retired CentCom commander, a retired Navy admiral and a former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. She has rapidly developed her company since 2003 and has notably partnered with Walgreens to build thousands of Wellness Centers for Theranos to carry out its testing. To date, Theranos has also accumulated $92 million in venture capital funding from investors like Larry Ellison and Draper Fisher Jurvetson with her first venture capital funding worth $5.8 million in 2005 at the age of 21. Holmes owns 84 patents to her name and Theranos is estimated to be worth $9 billion with Holmes owning half of its stock.

If you want to learn more about Elizabeth Holmes:

  • Click here for a video about how she came up with her business idea.
  • Click here for a timeline of Theranos’ conception
  • Click here to watch a TED Talk given by Holmes about the importance of early detection

“Fair Pay” Rules Just Aren’t Fair

women comp

By John Stanford, WIPP Government Relations

Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) recently submitted comments on proposed regulations that would require federal contractors to disclose labor violations from the past three years. This blog accompanies those comments as a summary of WIPP’s position. For more details or if this impacts your business, I encourage you to read the full comment here.

Last summer, President Obama issued an Executive Order with the goal of barring bad companies from winning federal contracts. WIPP, along with most in the contracting community, agrees that companies that follow the rules should not have to compete against companies that break them for federal contracts.

In May, the Labor Department and the FAR Council (overseers of contracting rulebook, “the FAR”) proposed how the President’s order would be implemented. It turns out, as with most things, the devil is in the details.

The proposed regulations require federal contractors and subcontractors to disclose violations of 14 federal labor laws and equivalent state laws from the previous three years. Exemptions were provided for companies with contracts valued less than $500,000. As proposed, prospective federal contractors would need to declare if they had labor violations in the previous three years when submitting an offer. During an initial evaluation, contracting officers would see that declaration (a simple “yes” or “no”), without any additional detail or explanation.

Later, if a contractor were likely to win an award, the contracting officer would have to decide if the contractor is a responsible company (a requirement of all government contracts already). It is in this phase that details like appeals, remediation, or mitigating factors could be explained. Contracting officers will attempt to identify companies with “serious”, “willful”, “repeated”, and/or “pervasive” violations and not award them contracts. Companies with minor violations could still be considered responsible and win contracts.

WIPP responded to the regulation during the public comment period expressing concerns with the new system and how it could negatively impact women-owned businesses, including those who had no history of unsafe or unfair work practices.

Notably, the proposals were incomplete as the Labor Department and FAR Council chose not to include what state labor law violations must be reported. It is impossible to gauge the impact of a regulation – the reason for comments– when missing significant portions.

What was in the proposals, however, was equally concerning. WIPP’s comment discusses how, in some cases, violations that require reporting will not be be fully adjudicated. That is, companies would have to report decisions against them that may ultimately be overturned – as nearly a third of NLRB decisions have been.

This is compounded by WIPP’s worry that simply having violations on record will “blacklist” companies without providing any opportunity to offer explanation. With limited resources and time, contracting officers may elect to avoid companies with any disclosed violations, despite the intent of the order to only bar violations of a certain severity.

The comment also considers burdens on subcontractors who similarly must report violation history, and the lack of resources the government may face to answer questions about weighing different labor violations. Moreover, the onus to collect and judge subcontractor violations falls to primes, a strategy the Labor Department itself questions.

WIPP’s final concern is that this rule is one of many in a disconcerting trend of new regulations that specifically target federal contractors. Earlier this year, regulations raised the minimum wage solely for workers on federal contracts. New requirements regarding sick leave are expected to come later this year. These make contracting with the federal government more onerous, particularly for women entrepreneurs seeking to enter the market.

Without question, WIPP supports efforts by the federal government to rid the contracting environment of businesses with a history of abusive and neglectful violations. In doing so, the government levels the playing field for the millions of businesses playing by the rules. But the proposals commented on will not achieve this goal. Instead, they will make it harder to be a contractor – pushing the innovative products and services of women-owned businesses out of the federal market.

A Scorecard That Matters

WG Blog

By Sydney Ringer, WIPP Government Relations Intern

Earlier this year, Dell released their 2015 Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard, a new data-driven diagnostic tool that identifies the impediments to high-impact entrepreneurship. It also introduces steps that can be taken to improve the conditions for high-impact female entrepreneurship development. Countries were rated on five categories: business environment, gendered access, leadership and rights, pipeline for entrepreneurship, and potential entrepreneur leaders. The United States, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, and Canada are at the top of the list.

While the United States was at the top of the rankings system, our rating was still only 71/100 across the categories. Only 13% of start-ups have women on their executive team, and just 3% of start-ups with women CEOs received venture capital funding in 2014.[1] According to Dr. Ruta Aidis, the project director, “if women entrepreneurs were starting growth-oriented businesses at the same rate as men in the United States, we could potentially have 15 million more jobs in the next two years”.[2] The Scored is another reminder of just how challenging it can be for women to succeed even today, and even in countries like the United Sates.

First, female role models in business and government are critically important. In the U.S. only 22% of the female population knows an entrepreneur despite 46% of women believing they have the skills necessary to start a business. Women entrepreneurs can leverage their success to provide real business insights on how to encourage women to start their own businesses. Once Women decide to start their own business they have modest aspirations because access to capital is still a huge barrier. Women-owned companies are 50% less capitalized than their male-owned counterparts.

While this report demonstrates all the growth the United States and other countries still need to do, it also presents some interesting ways to encourage women entrepreneurs. On the international level, the International Trade Centre launched a global initiative to increase the proportion of public procurement contracts being awarded to women owned businesses. The study also suggests corporations diversify their leadership and increase the number of women-owned business vendors in their supply chain.

The media can also play an important role as well. Right now global media only features women as subjects in print, radio and television 25% of the time. Seeing more articles featuring women as the top story on their homepage could inspire women to follow in their footsteps.

Every country in the study, even the top rated, has room for improvement. More than 70% of the countries still rated scored less than 50 out of 100. Despite challenges, women-owned businesses are growing, but they would be growing at an exponentially faster rate if they got some encouragement from their governments, corporations, media, and other entrepreneurs.


[1] CNN Money, “The Best Country For Women Entrepreneurs.” 2015. Available online at http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/30/smallbusiness/women-entrepreneurs-dell/index.html?category=smallbusiness

[2] “Global Women Entrepreneur Scorecard Executive Summary”. 2015. Available online at http://i.dell.com/sites/doccontent/corporate/secure/en/Documents/2015-GWEL-Scorecard-Executive-Summary.pdf

How to Boost Women’s Entrepreneurship

While numbers of women entering labor force are steadily increasing, their participation in entrepreneurship is less favorable. In fact, according to the Kauffman Foundation, an entrepreneurship think tank, women are only half as likely as men to start a business resulting in unrealized potential for their contributions to job creation, innovation, and ultimately economic growth.

UntitledKauffman Foundation released a new study claiming that women would make great entrepreneurs but they often fail to start their own business mostly due to following reasons:

  • Shortage of available mentors;
  • Perception of entrepreneurship as a masculine activity;
  • Additional hurdles maintaining a work-life balance due to parenthood.

However, we can address these barriers as Kauffman highlights 5 ways for policymakers on how to encourage women to start their own business.

  1. Provide more exact, gender based, data on entrepreneurship programs and initiatives to understand how they can better help women entrepreneurs. Collecting data based on gender will help them to make more accurate decisions in assisting women entrepreneurs.
  1. Increase the number of women leading entrepreneurship programs. Women can better lead and support other women entrepreneurs by using their networks for accessing mentors, financial capital, and creating women inclusive events that attract women entrepreneurs.
  1. Increase Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to women-owned businesses. Although federal agenciesparticipating in the SBIR Seed Fund are encouraging women to engage in federal research/Research and Development, only 15 percent of SBIR awards went to women-owned businesses in 2012. One of the ways to increase this number is to partner with women’s professional organizations and make better effort of reaching out to women entrepreneurs to participate in these programs.
  1. Share stories of successful women entrepreneurs. Celebrating accomplishments of women entrepreneurs will change the false perception that only men are successful entrepreneurs and encourage more women to follow successful women in business.
  1. Decrease the risk of becoming an entrepreneur. Pressure and risks that women as entrepreneurs are facing, especially with young families, can discourage them of starting in the first place. By exploring various policies such as subsidized childcare or preschool, can help alleviate the pressure and create a more favorable environment for women to start their own businesses.

Read the full study here.

July 2015 WIPP National Partner of the Month: Juli Betwee

Julie B WIPP’s July 2015 National Partner of the Month: Juli Betwee

Managing Partner at Pivot Point Partners of San Francisco, CA

WIPP sat down with Juli to hear more about her company and relationship with WIPP.

I work with leaders of mid-sized companies to grow and scale their business.  The analogy I often use is:  Strategic planning is like a commitment to a gym membership.  The membership is the intention to set a goal and follow through.  Consistent follow-through is the tough part… when most people bail from their intention.  I work with companies for 2-3 years enabling them to compete in markets and with services, necessary for sustainable, profitable growth but not usually attainable if they keep doing what they have always done.

Tell us a little about your company and its mission. I am the Managing Partner at Pivot Point Partners. It is hard give you a short explanation so I have put together a little piece about Pivot Point.

Have you always been an entrepreneur?  If not, what, or who, inspired you to take this leap?  I have always been entrepreneurial. I often bring a fresh and different perspective to what I do. It is the advantage I bring to the people with whom I work.

How are you engaged in your community (or state or national scene) in philanthropic or political causes? I am on the board of The Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. I have plans to teach an undergraduate business course in 2015-16. I am working with WIPP to develop their growth strategy and am on the board of The Women Presidents Organization. I contribute to GLIDE, as I believe in their model of social justice.

Have you advocated for an issue or a cause important to you? I advocate for issues that impact women in business.

What value/resources has WIPP brought you (training or education, member or political connections/access, awareness of policies that affect your business and its growth, etc.) that have been helpful to you?  Being Involved with WIPP has given me deeper insight into public policy and how it works. I am amazed at the work you accomplish and inroads you are making for women business leaders.

Net Neutrality: The Solution Lies With Congress

Last spring, the World Wide Web turned 25.  And in its relatively short lifespan, Internet access has become vital to modern life.  Numerous broadband-enabled devices have been developed, and high-speed connectivity now delivers opportunities to us that we could only imagine not long ago.  This connectivity is an important resource for small businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs, as well as for families, students, and diverse communities.

For women business owners, high speed Internet has enabled them to increase efficiency of business operations, improve customer service, reduce cost, and grow by reaching new customers and markets.  The most significant impact that high-speed connectivity has provided to women is flexibility, allowing them to start and grow their businesses regardless of whether they are working from an office, their home, or while on the go.

These advancements and innovations happened under a light-touch regulatory approach, which was wisely adopted and adhered to for many years.  This approach increased private investment in new technology and networks, allowed innovations to thrive, and helped increase high speed Internet adoption rates.  Unfortunately, we are now facing a radical change in course by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

Later this month, the FCC is expected to pass burdensome net neutrality rules created in the 1930s that reclassify the Internet as a public utility. This approach is guaranteed to slow investment into our country’s networks and jeopardize high speed Internet adoption at a time when encouraging both is especially vital to the success of our economy, our small businesses, and our families.  Net neutrality must be preserved, but the proposed FCC rules will do more harm than good. They call for a drastically altered course, one that would sabotage the approach that has helped the Internet thrive from the beginning.

Fortunately, there’s another solution. Congress can design rules that will protect net neutrality and consumers.  By offering opportunities for bipartisanship, lawmakers can work together to eliminate real threats to the Internet and to establish clear legal guidelines for the FCC.  This solution can also ensure that we get the right level of regulation, more in line with the light-touch framework that has worked so well for the past few decades.

A light-touch legislative solution that prohibits blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization while also protecting consumers and avoiding legal limbo, will lead to even more innovation and investment in our country’s Internet infrastructure.  It will also ensure that that all Americans, such as the fastest growing segment of small businesses – women business owners – have access to high-quality Internet and the technology they need to continue to grow our economy.

Tell Congress We Need #NetLawNow!

Below is a piece by the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council (MMTC, formerly Minority Media and Telecommunications Council), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation’s leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.

 

Bad Choices Can Make Today’s Internet Tomorrow’s Memory.  

Here’s what is happening right now to your Internet:  On Thursday, February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the government’s independent agency that oversees the media and telecommunications industries, is about to deliver a groundbreaking decision that will affect your Internet.

Consumers need to speak up because the FCC’s actions can take away the benefits that we enjoy today and in the future.

Why Should YOU Care?

  • TODAY’S INTERNET GIVES YOU POWER. You choose from all kinds of plans and combinations, from low-cost pre-paid plans, all the way up to that family plan with the special music collection you like.  Tomorrow’s Internet could have all of these programs eliminated under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY’S INTERNET GIVES YOU ACCESS. We all move around the Web, accessing movies, photos, emails, and whatever we want on our smartphones and tablets. Tomorrow’s Internet could negatively impact where and how we use the Internet under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY’S INTERNET IS GETTING CHEAPER. Over the last few years, the price of broadband has been decreasing.  Tomorrow’s Internet costs may increase and make it harder for some of us to pay. New, unnecessary taxes and fees on services could also open up from Thursday’s FCC rules, hitting you and your family in the wallet.

Today’s Internet is OPEN, and after Thursday, consumers won’t get anything that they didn’t have – except more rules, less choice, and the possibility of higher costs.

We are running out of time, and we need everyone to join in on the conversation! Contact your Representative so we can all enjoy the benefits of the Internet today and tomorrow!

Tweet #NetLawNow and tell your Members of Congress that you want them to act now to keep the Internet open!

3 Undeniable Business Trends You Need to Embrace

technologyAdaptability is the key ingredient of success for those looking to accomplish great things in today’s business climate.   This is one of the key business trends highlighted by Huffington Post’s blogger, Doug G. Sandler in his ARTICLE : 3 Undeniable Business Trends You Need To Embrace. We live in a business world that is moving faster than it ever has and adaptability seems to be the only acceptable policy for an entrepreneur, even though for many it will mean changing the status quo of how you operate, and for others – the newbie business owners – time and resources will need to be spent creating and improving their networks and key resources. Either case, you should embrace these three trends to make your own way towards success.

  1. The Internet is here to stay! The most successful businesses of tomorrow will be able to master technology but still provide a human touch as well.
  2. Content is king.  Blogging, writing and sharing content with existing customers and potential customers is vital. Be an expert in your industry, stay connected to your market and provide content that is relevant, interesting and easy to read.
  3. Adapt or perish. You cannot ignore business trends or your business will be left behind.

Read more here.