The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will help small businesses by lowering premium cost growth and increasing access to quality, affordable health insurance. If you’re a small employer, the following are some of the ACA provisions that may apply.
The Affordable Care Act includes numerous consumer protections designed to improve the accessibility, adequacy, and affordability of private health insurance. Because states are the primary regulators of health insurance, this issue brief examines new state action on a subset of protections—such as guaranteed access to coverage and a ban on preexisting condition exclusions—that go into effect in 2014.
Much of the public discussion about the health reform law signed into law in March 2010 has focused on the expansion of coverage to the uninsured through subsidies to individuals and the expansion of Medicaid. The law will also result in changes for many of the 150 million Americans who are covered through an employer-sponsored plan. This summary addresses common questions from unions and employers about the law’s impact on employer-sponsored insurance.
This analysis by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute – the independent research arm of the Bay Area Council – assesses the impact of the ACA on the California economy and jobs using widely accepted economic and statistical modeling tools and provides a regional breakdown of those impacts. The study concludes that the federal health care law would create almost 100,000 new jobs across California and boost economic output by $4.4 billion. The biggest expected job gains occur in Southern California, with almost 58,000 new jobs, followed by the Sacramento Valley with almost 13,500 new jobs, the Bay Area with 7,600 jobs, San Diego County with almost 6,500 jobs and the remaining 10,000 jobs spread throughout other counties.
The report focuses on new tax credits that provide help with the cost of premiums to small businesses with up to 25 workers that offer health coverage to their employees. Small businesses have traditionally faced higher administrative costs in providing coverage, and the tax credits will enable small businesses to provide health benefits and compete against large businesses. Among its key findings, the report found*:
More than 3.2 million small businesses (70.1 percent of businesses with fewer than 25 workers) are eligible for tax credits to help with the cost of health insurance coverage for their workers for the 2011 tax year.
More than 1.3 million small businesses are eligible to receive the maximum tax credit when they file their 2011 taxes.
More than two in five (40.3 percent of) small businesses eligible for a tax credit are eligible to receive the maximum tax credit when they file their 2011 taxes.
The Affordable Care Act is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President in March 2010. It puts in place health insurance reforms that will roll out over four years and beyond, with many changes taking place in 2014.
This report details the demographics of small business owners in California, how and why they make decisions to offer insurance (or not), who they trust as sources of information about health care, and how likely they are to respond to the new online exchange and tax credit provisions as the Affordable Care Act is rolled out. PCV hopes this new insight will help inform policymakers and advocacy groups about how to effectively implement health care reform and ensure that the policy extends health coverage to more employees of small businesses in a manner that empowers them to access it.
The Affordable Care Act – the health care law – gives small businesses the security they need and important new benefits. Signed into law in March of 2010, the law will hold insurance companies accountable and make it easier
for small businesses to provide health insurance.
After a year of debate, in March 2010 Congress passed legislation that will fix the serious problems that small businesses, including the self-employed, face in the current healthcare system: skyrocketing costs and unpredictable premiums, lack of access to affordable coverage and choice among health plans, and administrative inconvenience and hassle. So what does this actually mean for small business owners?
The new law will be implemented over a five-year period (2010-2014) to avoid disruption to the existing system and make transitions as smooth as possible. The general approach is to build upon the existing employer-based health system that employers and employees are used to: insurance will still be purchased from private insurance companies as well as not-for-profit plans, and the private sector healthcare system of doctors, hospitals and other providers will be maintained. Medicare will still cover retirees and Medicaid will continue as it does currently to cover uninsured children and low-income adults, with new flexibility to cover more people.
This initial research and outreach effort to the California business community finds that there are clear benefits and some distinct concerns regarding the impacts of healthcare reform impacts on small, medium, and large size California businesses. However, we also find that many employers, and the business organizations and chambers that represent them, remain on the sidelines in terms of the health care reform dialogue in California.
While levels of awareness vary, most are neutral and waiting to see how California health care reform implementation will affect their individual businesses, industry, and region.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will have different implications for employers, depending upon their size and whether they currently offer health insurance coverage to their workers. The new law does not impose new requirements on small employers (fewer than 50 workers), but will provide new health insurance alternatives to them through state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges. As a result, they will tend to be unaffected or experience savings under reform. Slightly larger employers (50 to 100 workers) may face some new requirements related to their workers’ health insurance coverage, but will also have access to SHOP exchange options. Employers with more than 100 workers may face new requirements related to their workers’ coverage and will not have access to SHOP exchanges before 2017. While larger firms are unlikely to experience significant changes in the types of coverage they provide, they may face higher costs associated with increased take-up of the policies they offer their workers, due to the new requirement for individuals to obtain health insurance coverage.
Small businesses are the backbone of America’s economy. While small businesses have been serving us, our health care system has been failing them, making it difficult—if not impossible—to provide their workers with quality, affordable health coverage. Particularly for the smallest businesses, the cost of providing health insurance can be prohibitively expensive, especially in these tough economic times.
In the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress and the President recognized that small businesses, particularly those with 10 or fewer workers, struggle to provide health insurance for their workers, and that some cannot afford to provide it at all. Legislators therefore included many provisions in the law to help small employers and their workers obtain high-quality, affordable coverage. One of these important provisions is a program to provide tax credits that small employers can use toward the purchase of health insurance for their workers.
Amid soaring health spending, there is growing interest in workplace disease prevention and wellness programs to improve health and lower costs. In a critical meta-analysis of the literature on costs and savings associated with such programs, we found that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and that absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.
Although further exploration of the mechanisms at work and broader applicability of the findings is needed, this return on investment suggests that the wider adoption of such programs could prove beneficial for budgets and productivity as well as health outcomes.