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The New Health Care Law and Small Businesses

If You Run A Small Business or Work for One
If You Run A Small Business or Work for One

About 80 percent of American businesses employ fewer than 10 workers, and less than half of these firms offer health insurance. Among companies with between 25 and 100 workers, 85 percent offer no coverage, according to official reports. The new law helps these small businesses provide insurance for their employees—and enables workers to change their jobs, or even set up their own businesses, without fear of losing health coverage.

  • Tax credits for employers: Businesses with fewer than 25 full-time workers that pay an average salary of $50,000 or less per year get an immediate tax credit of up to 35 percent on the premiums they pay for employees’ health coverage. The credit rises to 50 percent in 2014. How much of the credit you receive depends on how many workers you employ and their average wage. Starting in 2011, small businesses can also get government grants for up to five years to establish wellness programs.
  • New insurance options for employers: Starting in 2011, small businesses can offer “cafeteria” plans, which allow employees to transfer before-tax earnings into accounts that can be used for medical expenses. Starting in 2014, businesses with fewer than 100 workers can buy insurance for their employees through a state-run exchange. Businesses with 50 or more workers will pay an annual penalty if they don’t provide coverage.
  • New insurance options for workers: Starting in 2014, employees can buy health insurance for themselves and their families through an exchange if they work for a business that doesn’t provide insurance. Subsidies or tax credits will be available to those with low and moderate incomes.


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