What Entrepreneurs Need to Know about Healthcare Reform

healthcare reform

The new healthcare reform laws are coming and they will affect everyone, especially small business owners. Regardless of what level of entrepreneurship you are at, you’ll need to make some serious choices about the kind of healthcare you’ll utilize going into the future. Through federal and state run marketplaces, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, many of which will save you some money.

In addition, some tax benefits will help offset the costs, but the onus of education is on you.

What’s Changing

The healthcare reform is designed to make care more universal, and by extension more affordable. Part of how the government wants to handle this is to establish a marketplace where consumers can shop for healthcare plans. The idea is that you can find reasonable rates to care for yourself and your spouse, and you’ll find coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions.

You will also get to keep the doctor you choose, or choose a new doctor as you like. If you have dependents under 26, they may also be able to receive coverage while they live at home.

According to insurance consultant Gary Taffet, consumer education will be crucial during this transition.

Business with Employees

Employers who do offer healthcare plans will have to meet certain quality requirements related to the care they offer. If those businesses have more than 50 employees, they will face financial penalties. Those with less than 50 employees will have the option of providing partial health coverage, but the health reform will theoretically increase the options an employer can offer to employees at rates that are affordable.

Some businesses may also qualify for tax credits to help pay for some of the costs of health care. So, while businesses will face some mandates about requiring health care, they should have several options for effectively doing so.

Individual Entrepreneurs

Individuals will have more options to choose from, and may qualify for assistance based on their income level. For some plans, deductibles may not apply for certain services. That will make healthcare more than just a card in your pocket, and hopefully a better tool for actually caring about your body.

However, you will need to pay a lot more attention to the limitations of your health plan as plans will be a bit more restrictive. You’ll need to make sure that you understand concepts like copays and “in-network” doctors.

Saving Strategies

Individuals seeking insurance might have the misperception that healthcare is extremely expensive. It can be costly, but you do have options to save money on the care you receive. Check the health care marketplace in your state, as you may qualify for plans specific to your state that offer aid or other benefits. If you have dependents, like children, you may also receive benefits to offset those costs and keep yourself healthy.

If you have fewer than 25 employees and make less than $50,000 per year in your small business, you might qualify for a tax credit to help pay for insurance. Even if you have a handful of employees, you can save up to half of the cost of their healthcare.

Finding Insurance

On October 1, 2013, open enrollment starts for the new marketplace plans. Your best chance for savings is by enrolling in plans through this marketplace, but your level of benefits will depend on the size of your family and the income you bring in.

The marketplace plans may also have lower premiums. If your state doesn’t run a marketplace, try the federally run marketplace to see what your options are.

 

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