When it comes to business relocation — whether from one big city to the next or from a rural area to an urban one — businesses have obligations to their employees, and insurance is at the top of the list. Whether you are taking people with you or hiring new employees at your new location, you’ll have details to consider before the big move.

Key Decisions to Make

When a company moves, it could a mean a whole host of possible changes. Some will affect health coverage and some won’t, so you’ll want to know what’s coming and make big-picture decisions well ahead of time. Changes that will likely affect health care include a move out of your original state, expanding your business or downsizing the number of employees you have. Consider how well your existing insurance plan will meet the needs of your newly structured and located business.

It is also important to consider timing. If you’ve just missed open enrollment, you can still establish a new plan for your company by working with an insurer. Your insurer will also help you establish an enrollment timetable for new and established employees.

Working With Your Insurance Carrier

No matter where your business operates, you need to provide all your employees with minimum essential coverage if you’re choosing to provide a company-wide health plan. This holds true whether you’re expanding and adding to your head count or searching for new plans for yourself and the staff that’s moving along with your company. If you’re opting to offer health care to your employees, work hand-in-hand with your current insurance carrier or select another affiliated carrier in the new location, as long as what you offer meets the requirements under the ACA. The good news is you can begin looking for new health coverage right away and find numerous offers for flexible plans. As your business grows and expands, so do your choices when it comes to offering ACA-approved health plans to your employees.

Finding New Insurance through SHOP

If offering coverage through a state or federally run SHOP, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you move during an open enrollment period, the ACA allows employees to use the marketplace to find health coverage, so if your company opts to not provide coverage for employees, encourage them to make use of it.
  • If you move during a closed enrollment period and aren’t providing company-offered health care, employees may qualify for special circumstances that allow them to use the marketplace to find coverage. While moving is not a qualifying event, employees should still be aware if they have that option available to them.
  • It is up to you to either use third parties or the marketplace to locate policies that you wish to provide to your employees. You may be able to use the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) if you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • If you plan to offer insurance, you will have 90 days to offer it to all eligible employees. You must also provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage once you move onto the new plan after relocation.

This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax and/or other professional advisers.

Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and Internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.