Changes, whether good or bad, can create confusion and anxiety. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly referred to as Obamacare, is mandated health care reform for everyone. It states that all people in the United Stated must be insured by January 1st, 2014, which is a big undertaking for the government and most small businesses. A lot of people, prior to the Obamacare implementation, were uninsured and underinsured.
How does it affect small businesses?
There is no law the states that businesses are required to provide healthcare to its employees. However, big businesses that employ 51 or more employees would be penalized for not providing accessible health insurance.
Small business owners can opt out not to provide health insurance but the provisions of the Affordable Care Act has been revised so that no one is denied the healthcare they need, so it really isn’t a question of whether they should provide it since it can cover pre-existing conditions like allergies or pregnancies, conditions that were potentially denied coverage by health insurance companies before.
Does it help small businesses?
Before choosing a health insurance company, small business owners should first educate themselves on the different types of health insurance and how it works – from deductibles, out of pocket minimum and maximums to copays.
For example, the Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF) in Connecticut is a nonprofit organization that strives to help people start, grow and manage their own businesses. They provide classes to give knowledge to start and run a business and serve small businesses statewide. One of the classes they teach is how small businesses can avail health insurance for its employees and how they can use it to their advantage.
ACA gave small businesses large group buying power
Majority of working Americans works in small companies. Before ACA, health insurance costs were very expensive and many small businesses cannot afford to get covered because they were unable to leverage large-group buying power. With ACA, they are able to provide coverage by pooling both risk and buying power, allowing them to acquire high-quality health insurance at a much-lowered cost.
ACA can give small businesses owners tax credit relief or tax breaks
Companies that have less than 25 full-time equivalent employees that make an average income of $50,000 or less may benefit from the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit if they meet certain requirements.
Eligibility determination for the Tax Credit can be further assessed by your tax adviser or accountant and at the HealthCare.gov website. In order to be eligible for the tax credit, coverage must be purchased through the SHOP Marketplace.
What is the SHOP Marketplace?
SHOP or the Small Business Health Options Program is like a marketplace. You can pick and chose from what you’re offered, and employees can choose from what you offer them; all with one consolidated bill and no membership fee is charged to participate in SHOP. There is no minimum premium to be paid, and employers decide what is paid.
It is open to employers who have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent, common law employees. This means that part-time employees can be pooled together so as to equal full-time employee status, although coverage does not need to be offered to part-time employees or their dependents. In order to buy insurance through SHOP, and be eligible for a tax credit, all full-time workers on the job for 30 hours or more a week must be offered coverage and, in some states, at least 70% must accept that coverage.
It must be purchased in a state where you have a principal business address or an employee work site, such as a store or office. Employers are not required to cover their employee’s dependents in most states. They are also not required to cover dental plans, however, are encouraged to do so. You need the support of an insurance company, agent or broker to be able to buy from the SHOP Marketplace.
With new provisions on the ACA and better access to affordable choices for coverage through the SHOP Marketplace, access to needed healthcare is indeed attainable for everyone.
Providing Americans the appropriate health security they need, the Affordable Care Act aims to augment the quality of care received by each citizen throughout the country. The benefits included in this ordinance can easily be attained by your patients through our services that guarantee support for all their medical concerns, particularly improving their overall health condition. Learn more!