by Mark Lusky
You've got a health condition-related question. Before calling your doctor, which can lead to an expensive office visit, you want to assess the gravity of the situation. So, you get on the Internet and start doing research.
As you pull up information, two omnipresent questions should present themselves: 1. How credible is the information? 2. What is the provider's perspective? In healthcare, mayoclinic.com would be one credible source of information. However, consider their perspective-which is typically steeped in traditional western medicine philosophy. Nothing inherently wrong with that, except that western medicine doesn't possess all the answers.
You may decide a "global" review is best: First, get information from credible mainstream sources such as mayoclinic.com, then color outside the lines and check out less-traditional sites. Attempt to formulate an "educated" blended opinion from the perspectives that most resonates with you. Then, decide whether or not to see your doc or access other resources.
The same approach can serve you well when it comes to figuring out impact of everything from Obamacare to new tax provisions. Using Obamacare as a current hot topic, what can you do that's relatively fast, easy and reliable to get your head around what's coming in healthcare?
First, go to industry sources with a vested interest in providing accurate, complete information-essentially entities whose survival hinges on it. In self-storage, one obvious choice is Inside Self-Storage magazine. If it's Obamacare you want to check out, their recent story, "Health-Care Changes Loom: Is Your Self-Storage Business Ready?" is a place to start.
The article points out, "Starting in 2014, employers with more than 50 full-time employees are required to provide health insurance, or else they'll have to pay a penalty if at least one employee joins the exchange and receives a subsidy. The penalty is $2,000 per full-time employee over 30 employees. In other words, if an employer has 60 full-time employees, he will pay a penalty on 30 employees. For some businesses, however, paying a penalty may be cheaper than offering insurance. Many companies are considering their options, weighing the impact of dropping insurance on recruitment and its effect on their ability to attract talent."
If you have fewer than 51 employees, this provision doesn't apply. But, what does Obamacare portend if you want to provide some health insurance benefit for employees? What options/requirements will individuals have on their own? Further research is needed, so read on.
As an adjunct, you may want to check out one or more reports tied to self-storage industry events and symposiums on the topic. See if this information corroborates everything else you've been reviewing.
After checking out self-storage-focused resources, augment the search by accessing one or more mainstream media that address the issue from a broad-based perspective. You can conduct a global Google search of recent stories or go to such publications as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and the like to see what their latest and greatest is on the subject.
To get your third source confirmation, check out one or more respected insurance or healthcare media whose continued existence depends on providing complete, accurate information from their perspective.
For Obamacare at least, this should give you a cross section of valid, verifiable intel. Then:
1. Connect the dots and see where everything lines up (basically the equivalent of multiple sources confirming a story);
2. Determine items that don't line up;
3. Establish whether or not you have enough seemingly reliable, consistent information from which to make appropriate decisions as an employer;
4. Decide if you're confident acting on this information yourself, or whether you need to "call the doc," a legal beagle, insurance rep, employee benefits advisor and/or other trusted advisor(s) to confirm what you should do regarding the Obamacare rollout tied to your self-storage organization;
5. Cross your fingers and hope it all works out.