America’s 28 million small businesses are the backbone of our economy as they create two out of every three net new jobs and employ half of America’s workforce.
From mom-and-pop stores and restaurants to high-tech startups and productive manufacturers, small businesses are helping to drive the Washington economy and create jobs in our communities.
Many small business owners consider their employees to be part of their family. Providing benefits, such as health care, is one important tool they have to help retain their talented workforce and compete for skilled employees.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is committed to giving small business owners the resources they need to start and grow a business, including access to critical information about how the Affordable Care Act works.
Under the ACA, small employers will have more options.
Starting Jan. 1, small businesses with generally up to 50 full-time-equivalent employees will be able to purchase health insurance through the online health insurance marketplace for small businesses, known as SHOP.
The SHOP marketplace will offer employers a choice of qualified health plans from different private health insurers and make it easier for employers to make side-by-side comparisons between those plans, based on price and benefits.
SHOP also offers employers and their employees access to health insurance plans that must include a package of “essential health benefits,” like coverage for doctor visits, preventive care, hospitalization and prescriptions.
Any many small employers may be eligible for tax credits of up to 50 percent of their premium costs if they choose to purchase coverage through SHOP.
Enrollment starts on Oct. 1 for coverage that will begin Jan. 1.
The Washington Healthplanfinder is the SHOP Marketplace that serves Washington state small businesses and residents. Visitors to www.wahealthplanfinder.org have a new way to find, compare and enroll in health insurance. Individuals and families can shop for health plans anonymously, find out if there is financial help available, compare plans side-by-side and choose the plan that works for them.
The ACA allows small employers to offer health coverage in a way that makes sense for their business and works for their bottom line. And the SBA is committed to leveraging its resources and federal partnerships to connect you with the facts and resources you need to understand the law.
To learn more, call the SBA’s Seattle district office at 206-553-7310, or visit www.sba.gov/wa.Calvin W. Goings is the regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration.