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What the Health Law Means for Small Business Employers

En español | The health care law makes providing coverage to your employees a lot easier. As a small business owner you can join with other small businesses statewide to get better pricing for health coverage for your employees. The Health Insurance Marketplace for small businesses (called SHOP) allows you to compare plans, choose the plan you want to be available to your employees and set the dollar amount you can contribute toward your employees’ premiums. Then you simply go online and sign up — reducing your paperwork and administrative costs.

Employer Requirements

No federal law requires businesses of any size — large or small — to offer insurance. That’s been the law long before the Affordable Care Act was passed.

What you now need to do about employee health coverage depends on the number of your employees.

If you have under 50 employees

You are not required to offer health insurance and you face no penalties if you don’t. If you do wish to make health coverage available to your employees, you can shop for a plan to offer them in your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you have 50 or more employees

Starting in 2015 if you have 50 or more full-time equivalent employees and do not offer them health insurance, you will have to pay a penalty if any of your full-time employees get help paying their premiums through the marketplace.

If you are self-employed

If you are self-employed you are treated as an individual rather than a small business. Just like everyone else, you will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty. To obtain health insurance, you will shop in the individual Health Insurance Marketplace in your state.

You will not be eligible for the small business tax credit, but you may qualify for financial help with the cost of your coverage.

Small Business Tax Credit

Small businesses can get a tax credit to help make the cost of covering your employees more affordable. If you offer health insurance and your company has fewer than 25 employees with average wages of less than $50,000, you will qualify for a tax credit. In 2014 up to 50 percent of your costs of providing insurance through the marketplace may be covered — making it even more affordable to provide health insurance.

Resources for Small Businesses

Find out more about the tax credit, how to count your employees and calculate any penalties by visiting the IRS website.

Starting November 2014, employers, employees, or those helping an employer or employee, should contact the SHOP Call Center at (800) 706-7893, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. EST. TTY users should call 711 to reach a call center representative.

Get more information and find your SHOP marketplace.

Updated October 2014

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