Here are seven features of the ACA that every small business owner should know:
- Starting January 1, 2014, health care insurance companies will have to offer insurance coverage to any individual who applies, regardless of past or current medical conditions.
This means everyone can get health care insurance. We call this part of the law “guaranteed issue.”
- Starting January 1, 2014, everyone has to get health care insurance – or pay a tax penalty for not having coverage.
There are a few exemptions, but for the most part, everyone has to get coverage – or pay penalties.
- Most insurance plans are now required to pay 100 percent of the cost of many preventive services.
The list of these preventive services is long. It includes mammograms, HIV testing, well-woman visits and diabetes screening.
- Starting in October 2013, online insurance shopping centers known as exchanges (or marketplaces) will make it easier for consumers to get coverage.
Everyone can use these exchanges. But shoppers who qualify based on their income can get financial help from the government.
Many states are setting up their own online exchanges. Other states are letting the federal government set up and run these exchanges.
- Starting in October 2013, small businesses will be able to shop at online insurance centers through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
This new program can provide you with new options when shopping for a health plan.
SHOP plans will offer four levels of coverage: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
- The government announced in July that one portion of SHOP is being delayed a year.
That portion is the “employee choice model.” It would have given workers a choice of health plans. The government has delayed it because of start-up issues.
Instead, you will be able to choose a single plan from SHOP. This will be similar to how you buy health benefits for your employees today.
You can learn more by going to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Insurance Marketplace.
- The new law offers potential increases in tax savings for small businesses.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the small business health care tax credit can cover up to 50 percent of what you pay toward premium costs for low- to moderate-wage workers. Since 2010, the maximum credit has been 35 percent for small business employers.
Not sure you qualify? The IRS offers guidelines. You can also estimate your potential tax credit by using this calculator.*
* This tool is not intended to provide tax or legal advice. You should not rely on the information provided without first consulting a tax professional on any questions you have relating to your unique circumstances
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