Launched in 2009, Sun King Brewing is an Indianapolis-based brewery with 47 employees. In 2013, it produced 21,000 barrels of beer; it is projected to produce 28,000 barrels in 2014.
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Although it was only a few years old, fast-growing Sun King Brewing knew that it would one day offer health benefits to its employees; however, the requirements of the Affordable Care Act meant “one day” was coming sooner than anticipated. As it considered what to do, the firm found itself in a difficult situation: With fewer than 50 employees, Sun King would be susceptible to the Act’s community-rating rules, which would limit its options and force it to pay higher costs. FirstPerson helped Sun King find a way to provide lower-cost coverage to its employees while also positioning itself for future growth.
What do you do when you find you have to accelerate your plan to offer health benefits? In Sun King’s case, you accelerate it even more – in order to save money and position yourself for the future. FirstPerson advised Sun King to begin offering benefits before Dec. 1, 2013, which would exempt it from the Affordable Care Act provisions that would have affected it as a company with fewer than 50 employees. But FirstPerson didn’t suggest that the brewery put just any plan in place; it helped Sun King:
- Create a benefits program that gave employees flexibility,
- Implement a wellness program that matches well with the firm’s health-conscious culture, and helped
- Create HR processes that gave the firm structure without violating its employee-centric culture
Less than two years ago, Sun King had no benefits plan and only an idea of what it might one day offer. Now, it not only provides coverage for employees and their families, it also helps them stay healthy. Meanwhile, it dodged some of the negative impacts of the Affordable Care Act and bought itself time to prepare for the future. If growth continues, the firm could soon qualify as a “large employer,” which would protect it from the community rating effects until 2016. Meanwhile, Sun King and FirstPerson already are working on strategies for a self-funded plan approach that could serve them for many years to come.