Small Business Owners (1 or more employees)
A serious health condition raises questions in several areas for the owner of a small business. An educated, thoughtful response can save time, energy, stress and money. This article focuses on the impact of your health condition on your business. It also coveres the benefits owning a business can provide related to your health condition.
A planning day: Consider taking time to think through the subjects raised in this article as well as others related to your particular situation. An overall plan will help you minimize surprises, deal better with those that occur and reduce stress. Involve your advisors to the extent that is practical. While thinking about planning, keep in mind:
- Big decisions do not have to be made on the spot, even if to do so is your normal style. At least sleep on a decision overnight before starting to take action. At the same time, don't let thinking about a decision be an excuse for putting off a decision. Accidents can (and do) happen.
- When you make plans, it is advisable to set deadlines by which to do each plan. If it turns out that you cannot make a date, create a new one. Note the deadlines the same way you note important other deadlines in your life.
Disclosure: There is no right or wrong when it comes to deciding who and what to tell about your health condition. This is as true in a business setting as it is in your personal life. You may decide to tell some people and not others, or one group of people and not another group. Perhaps your business and situation favor not disclosing. If so, keep in mind the stress of keeping secret: the more important the secret, the greater the stress. Without disclosure, explanations will be needed for time off or for periods when you do not look well.
Think about how to continue the business if any of the "what ifs" occur. For instance, if you cannot work for a short or longer period of time. If a man made or natural disaster occurs. If you die.
Retirement accounts: It may seem counterintuitive to think about retirement accounts in a discussion about the effect of your health on your business. However, all the reasons that led you to create a retirement account in the first place continue. In addition, you may ultimately need the money to pay medical bills - or to get you through if medical-bill-related creditors seek your assets. It is advisable to:
- Place as much money into your retirement accounts as you can.
- Keep in mind that you can generally take money from the accounts without penalty if you become disabled -- or borrow against them for the short term if necessary.
- If you don't have retirement plans in place, speak with a pension expert to learn your options both individually and through the business, including costs. If you don't have a pension expert, your attorney or accountant can introduce you to one.
Balance work and personal time: As a small business owner, the odds are your focus and the bulk of your time have been devoted to your business. A diagnosis is a good time to think about the balance and whether you want to make changes - and, if so, how.
Health insurance: Because of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") you can purchase individual health insurance despite your health condition. However, owning a business provides an opportunity to purchase coverage that may not be available on the individualmarket and/or a lower price.
Other insurance: With at least two employees (yourself included) you may be able to purchase other helpful insurance that you would not be able to purchase as an individual with a health condition. It is worth exploring whether you can purchase Disability Income Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance and even Life Insurance (which has new uses becuase of your health condition, such as a sale.
- When emotions surface while thinking about these subjects, work through them. These subjects are too important to ignore. If needed, take a break. If the emotions interfere with thinking things through or your daily life, seek help. It is now mandated that mental health be covered by health insurance justlike physical health. For information about dealing with emotions, click here.
- Because of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), small businesses can get a tax credit that takes effect immediately for offering health insurance coverage to employees. To learn about the tax credit, click here.
- If running your own business becomes overwhelming, keep in mind that as long as you are physically and emotiionally able, you can go to work for someone else. Employers cannot ask about your health condition or history. The larger the employer, the more likely the better the benefits. For information about seeking work, click here.
For more information, see:
- In General
- How To Plan A Planning Day For A Small Business Owner
- How Does A Business Owner Decide About Disclosing A Serious Medical Condition?
- Continuation planning
To Learn More
More InformationAffordable Care Act: Health Insurance Tax Credit For Small Businesses
Related ArticlesA User's Guide To Health Reform 2010