What Does the Health Care Law Mean for Me?
The health care law has many benefits for women, including women like you who own a small business. Here are some of the ways that the new law will help:
You May Be Eligible for a Tax Credit to Help You Provide Health Insurance
If your business employs fewer than 25 full-time employees and pays average annual wages below $50,000.
- Businesses that meet the above criteria and pay at least half of the cost of premiums for their employees will be eligible for tax credits to help them afford their company’s health insurance costs.
- The tax credits are available on a sliding-scale basis, meaning that the maximum credit goes to the smallest employers.
- Now, the credit is worth up to 35% of the premiums paid by the employer (25% for nonprofit businesses). In 2014, the credit increases to 50% (35% for nonprofits) for firms that purchase coverage in the new Health Insurance Exchanges that come into operation in 2014 (more information on the Exchanges below). Businesses can claim the tax credits for a maximum of two years.
New Rules for Insurers Will Help Keep Premiums Down
- Insurers will have to publicize rate increases and justify unreasonable rates. States can recommend that insurers with a history of unjustified increases not be allowed to participate in the new Health Insurance Exchanges, which come into operation in 2014 (more information on the Exchanges below).
- The health care law limits the percentage of your premium dollars that insurance companies can spend on profits, overhead, or marketing—this means they’ll spend more on your health care. Health plan enrollees will receive rebates if insurers do not spend enough on actual health care.
BY 2014: You May Find Coverage for your Business in New Health Insurance Exchanges
- In January 2014, new, easy-to-use Health Insurance Exchanges will come into operation in every state and will be open to businesses with fewer than 100 employees (although states may choose to limit this to employers with 50 or fewer employees until 2016).
- New web portals for the Exchanges will provide standardized, user-friendly information to make it easier for you to choose the best health insurance plan to offer employees.
- New health plans—including those sold in the Exchanges—will be required to cover a set of essential health services, including maternity care and prescription drugs. They’ll also cover key preventive services for free. They won’t be able to charge you more because you employ workers with medical histories or women.
You will NOT Face Penalties if You’re Unable to Provide Coverage to Employees
- While some businesses may face penalties if they do not provide health insurance and their employees obtain subsidized coverage in the Exchanges, this will not apply to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
For more information on how you and other women you know will benefit from the new health care law,
visit the National Women’s Law Center website: www.nwlc.org/reformmatters.