Small Businesses and the Affordable Care Act
You know the value of providing health insurance to your employees. But it can be a real challenge for small businesses. On average, small businesses pay about 18% more than large firms for the same health insurance policy. And small businesses lack the purchasing power that larger employers have. The health care law provides tax credits and soon - the ability to shop for insurance in the new Health Insurance Marketplace - that helps close this gap.
Top Things to Know for Small Businesses
- If you have fewer than 25 employees, pay average annual wages below $50,000, and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% (up to 25% for non-profits) to offset the cost of your insurance. This will bring down the cost of providing insurance.
- Under the health care law, employer-based plans that provide health insurance to retirees ages 55-64 can now get financial help through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program is designed to lower the cost of premiums for all employees and reduce employer health costs.
- Starting in 2014, the small business tax credit goes up to 50% (up to 35% for non-profits) for qualifying businesses. This will make the cost of providing insurance even lower.
- In 2014, small businesses with generally fewer than 100 employees can shop in the Health Insurance Marketplace, which gives you power similar to what large businesses have to get better choices and lower prices. In the Marketplace, individuals and small businesses can buy affordable health benefit plans. Open enrollment begins on October 1, 2013.
- The Marketplace will offer a choice of plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards. Starting in 2014, members of Congress will be getting their health care insurance through the Marketplace, and you will be able to buy your insurance through the Marketplace, too. Find out how you can get ready to enroll.
- Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from new employer responsibility policies. They don’t have to pay an assessment if their employees get tax credits through an Exchange.
Resources for Small Businesses
Use these resources to learn more about important features of the health care law:
- Learn more about the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program at www.errp.gov.
- See if you qualify for the small business tax credit at www.irs.gov.
- Employer Bulletin: FAQs on Automatic Enrollment, Employer Responsibility, and Waiting Periods.
Stories from small business owners:
- Virginia D. in San Francisco, CA
- Kiersten F. in Kansas City, KS
- Nancy C. in North Conway, NH
- Mark H. in Ann Arbor, MI
Use these resources to get the most out of your insurance:
- Find and compare health plans for your employees.
- Video: Small Business Health Plan Finder
- Find answers to frequently asked questions for small business, large business, and the self-employed.