November 25, 2014
By Randy Garner
Open enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is still in full swing.
Though many individuals and families may be re-enrolling from last year, 2014 is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will require small business to participate by purchasing insurance for their employees through SHOP, the Small business Health Options Program.
“It essentially is part of the marketplace,” said Frank Knapp, president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.
“This is the area that insurance companies are putting together group health plans for small businesses to look at and to enroll in.”
Knapp said though there will not be as many plans available on the SHOP exchange as there are for individuals and families, he said SHOP still provides options for small-business owners.
“My understanding is that three of the carriers will have some programs in SHOP,” he said. “What will be available is for a small-businesses owner to go into the SHOP section of the marketplace with the assistance of an agent or broker and to look at the plans that are and to make some decisions whether they want to enroll their business and their employees in a group plan offered through shop. If they do, if they meet a certain criteria, they can get up to a 50 percent tax credit on the premiums they pay for their employees.”
Knapp said the credit’s criteria includes the business having no more than 24 employees with average employee pay of less than $50,000.
“We are going to be working with small-business owners to educate them about their options under the Affordable Care Act for health insurance for themselves and for their employees,” he said.
Knapp said there are other options for business owners who may not want to offer group health plans or have fewer than 50 employees but still want to help their employees get health insurance.
For more information, contact the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce by calling 803-252-5733.