In an effort to help small business owners navigate information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or as it is often called, Obamacare, here are a few suggested websites and a phone number to guide you through the transition.
- Start with the information on SBA’s page devoted to the issue: http://www.sba.gov/healthcare/. There are sections on Self-Employed, Employers with Fewer Than 25 Employees, Employers with Up to 50 Employees and Employers with 50 or More Employees. The page also includes links to Glossary of Key Health Care Reform Terms; Key Features of the Affordable Care Act by Year; The Law, Regulations, and Related Guidance; Specific Affordable Care Act Information in Your State; and Affordable Care Act Training Materials (which takes you to Affordable Care Act 101: What The Health Care Law Means for Small Businesses (July 2013), Affordable Care Act 201: Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions (July 2013), Affordable Care Act Fact Sheet for Small Business (July 2013), SBA Fact Sheet: Myths vs. Facts (July 2013), SBA Fact Sheet: Strengthening Health Care for Small Businesses (July 2013, and SBA Fact Sheet: ACA Timeline for Small Businesses (July 2013)). You can also search SBA’s website for more information on ACA.
- Go to https://www.healthcare.gov/. This site is devoted to ACA.
- Go to IRS’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax Provisions. You can search the IRS site for more ACA information. IRS will provide definitive answers to any tax questions. Form 8941 Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums and instructions can be found in the forms section.
- The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is responsible for implementation of ACA. Search the HHS website for ACA related articles.
- A website was created to guide small businesses through their options with the Affordable Care Act. The website is http://business.usa.gov/healthcare#wizard-step-id-1 and it takes a small business owner step-by-step through a series of questions and provides the applicable information on ACA.
- Work with your tax professional. Your tax professional is paid to keep up to date on all tax changes, including ACA information. If you offer health insurance to your employees, see if you are eligible for a tax credit. You may even be eligible for credits from previous years.
Here are a few more facts worth noting:
- The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is designed for businesses with fewer than 50 employees in order to make health insurance costs for small businesses comparable to the costs for larger businesses offering similar coverage. SHOP now has a new toll-free number: 1-800-706-7893 (TTY: 1-800-706-7915 ). The call center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST). The Health Insurance Marketplace and SHOP Marketplace will open in October 2013 for insurance coverage effective in January 2014.
- Health insurance tax credits are generally for businesses with fewer than 25 employees.
- Businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees will be required to offer health insurance in 2015 or face Employer Shared Responsibility Payments.
Get the facts for yourself about ACA. If you have questions you can contact your SBA St. Louis District Office.