How Will Health Care Reform Impact You?

January 14, 2011

On March 23, President Barack Obama signed the health care reform bill into law.

Officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law includes numerous health-related provisions that will add literally millions of previously underserved individuals to the insurance rolls, but many small business owners want to know how they will be impacted.

We know individuals will see several benefits. For one, children with pre-existing conditions are not allowed to be denied coverage, and plans covering children on their parents' policies must allow the child to remain on that policy until age 26.

But how will health care reform benefit small businesses?

Under the previous health care act makes it easier for employers to provide health benefits. For example, in 2010 small businesses became eligible for health care tax credits, and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options exchanges, or SHOP, which will expand their purchasing power. Provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health care costs. Once the "exchanges" are functioning, researchers forecast that approximately 86 percent of small business employees will have the option of buying health care plans at work - an increase on 10.5 million workers.

Currently, only 60 percent of workers at businesses with 50 or fewer employees have an offer of coverage - the proportion is projected to increase to 86 percent after the reform.

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