Guest post by Kristie Arslan, president of the National Association for the Self-Employed.
Health coverage is one of the most costly yet important purchases made by business owners and their employees. So costly in fact, that many go without health coverage leaving them vulnerable to a financial disaster should they be faced with an illness or medical emergency.
According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, of the 45 million uninsured, roughly half were self-employed or worked for small businesses. This will soon change for better or for worse when the health reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act, is fully implemented come January 2014.
Beginning on January 14, 2014, all Americans will be required to obtain health coverage or pay a penalty including the self-employed. If you are the owner of a small business with fifty or more full-time equivalent employees, beginning in 2015 you will be required to offer affordable health insurance coverage to all employees and their dependents. [Learn more about the employer mandate.]
These new mandates will compel millions of Americans to shop for health coverage. As a business owner, it is critical you get informed about the law to understand how it will affect you, your business and your employees. A keystone of the law is the requirement that new health marketplaces, known as Exchanges, be set up in every state to offer health coverage options business owners, individuals and families. You will be able to research, compare and purchase health insurance via your state Exchange’s online portal. Enrollment in these new Exchanges begins on October 1, 2013.
To prepare for health reform, visit the following resources:
You can also check out a webinar (or visit http://vz.to/15qJvy1) on this very topic presented by Verizon Small Business, featuring my colleague, Katie Vlietstra, director of government affairs for the National Association for the Self-Employed.
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