The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a major piece of legislation and is expected to impact small businesses across the country in significant ways. On October 1, 2013, enrollment will begin for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) which is designed to provide affordable insurance marketplaces that will give small business employers the same type of health insurance buying power as bigger corporations (the actual program itself will open on January 1, 2014). To help aid the transition, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are offering new online tools to help small business owners decipher various aspects of the law and find the best health care options for their particular situation.
The SBA’s health care web page (www.sba.gov/healthcare) is dedicated both to educating business owners on the various implications of the law as well as to providing support so that small business owners can better understand how the law applies to their specific situation. The SBA website is designed to serve as a gateway for small businesses, literally connecting them with up to date information provided by those federal administrators responsible for implementing the law. It’s recommended that small business owners check back to the SBA website often, as it is continually being updated with information as the government continues to publish its regulations.
The HHS site (www.healthcare.gov) has compiled information and tools aimed at helping business owners to clearly understand their rights and responsibilities in light of the ACA law. Key provisions of the law are explained, as well as an easy to understand overview of what exactly is changing and when these changes will take place. An added benefit of this site is that it provides important tools to ease the process of comparison shopping for health insurance within the new healthcare framework. Included here is a personalization feature that allows business owners to enter information to determine plan options, pricing, and eligibility. They can also compare quality of care provided by healthcare facilities.
NASE. “SBA Launches New Online Tool to Aid the Self-Employed.” NASE.org. 2/7/13.
Beesley, Caron. “Online Tools to Help You Find and Price Small Business Health Care Insurance Options.” SBA.gov. 2/5/13.