International small business health plans for 2016

New options for avoiding excise taxes on international worker health benefits

Small business employers with employees stationed outside of their home country face some difficulties providing medical insurance. In most cases employers have fewer health benefit plan choices available compared to firms with all their employees in the U.S. For 2016 there are several additional options in small group global medical insurance for two or more employees. The program works for U.S. residents stationed abroad or foreign nationals working in the U.S.

Consistent with the trends for today’s employee benefit plans, these international health plan are usually not issued by a single insurance company but the plan administrator may use several insurers based on location of the medical risks.  The employer may elect combine portions of insurance and self-insurance (to lower up-front cost) and popular non-insurance health benefit programs. For this reason, it makes sense for the employer to do some pre-planning in terms of specific coverage desired and budget proposed for employee health benefits before asking the plan administrator for a specific cost and benefits proposal.

In the past international workers would simply purchase individual global medical insurance and then the employers would reimburse the cost. Now, under the new rules brought by the Affordable Care Act, this practice would trigger large tax penalties for US-based companies with employees deployed outside the U.S. Employers can avoid the tax penalties by sponsoring a small group health insurance plan instead.

Additional information and assistance with design is available through the flat fee consultation service or as part of another arrangement.


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