What do small businesses need to know about the Affordable Health Care Act?
Small businesses may get health coverage in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace. No employers are required to offer health coverage.
Starting in 2014, businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees can use SHOP to offer coverage to their employees. This applies to non-profit organizations as well. You control the coverage you offer and how much you pay toward premium costs.
Health coverage through SHOP starts as soon as January 1, 2014. Open enrollment begins October 1, 2013. You can sign up and begin offering coverage any time during the year.
Can I apply for insurance for myself and family?
3 ways to save on health care coverage
You can save money in the Health Insurance Marketplace 3 ways. All of them depend on your income and family size.
- You may be able to lower costs on your monthly premiums when you enroll in a private health insurance plan. These plans all cover essential health benefits and pre-existing conditions.
- You may qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs for copayments, coinsurance, anddeductibles.
- You or your child may get free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or theChildren’s Health Insurance Program CHIP. Some states will be expanding Medicaid eligibility in 2014, so you may qualify even if you have been turned down for Medicaid in the past.
What if I don’t want to have insurance?
The individual shared responsibility payment
If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you must pay a fee known as theindividual shared responsibility payment.
The fee in 2014 is 1% of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher. The fee increases every year. In 2016 it is 2.5% of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher.
In 2014 the payment for uninsured children is $47.50 per child. The most a family would have to pay in 2014 is $285.
You make the payment when you file your 2014 taxes, which are due in April 2015.
Where do I start?
You can apply for health coverage, compare all your options, and enroll in a plan in one streamlined application through the Health Insurance Marketplace. When open enrollment begins October 1, 2013, you can fill out your application and see the health coverage options available to you.
There is a lot of information the sites listed above, and here. I encourage our readers to investigate for themselves how this will affect them. Some states will run their own program, some will follow the federal one, click here to see where your state stands.
Leave your questions and comments below, we’ll try and help answer them. Any political rants or derogatory comments will be deleted, this is meant to help learn and adjust to an inevitable change we are all subject to.