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Lesson from this week - there's always more to learn!

Five years into my work on health reform, I learned that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has much more to offer small business owners and the self-employed than I had realized.   Welcome news!

This Monday, MomsRising co-hosted a webinar for small business owners with the Small Business Majority.   Their experts, along with a representative from the Small Business Administration, presented some critical info about what the ACA has to offer small business owners.

Here's a breakdown of some of the most useful information and resources:

* On average, small businesses now pay about 18% more than large firms for the same health insurance policy because they lack the purchasing power that larger employers have.   However, starting in October, small businesses will be able to pool their employees together into large purchasing groups like large businesses and compare products/pricing easily for insurance from private companies.  Learn more about these Health Insurance Marketplaces here.

Flower Store Owner Large* If you have up to 25 employees, pay average annual wages below $50,000, and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% (up to 25% for non-profits) to offset the cost of your insurance. This will bring down the cost of providing insurance.

* Businesses with less than 50 full-time employees will not be required to provide health coverage for their employees.  This exempts 96% of all businesses in the U.S.  For those small businesses who don't offer health coverage but want to do so, the Affordable Care Act is designed to lower coverage costs and expand access to more coverage choices (see bullet above!)

* If you didn't know about this tax credit and are eligible, you can amend your previous year's tax returns to claim the credit.  (This is awesome!)  Check out the IRS' info on this here.

* The Small Business Administration has developed resources to educate small businesses about the Affordable Care Act - check it out here.

* Starting in October, the self-employed will have the opportunity to buy health coverage through similar individual Health Insurance Marketplaces in their state.  These marketplaces will pool consumers together (like small business employees are pooled together) to offer more affordable coverage and a platform that makes it easy to compare products.  And, depending on your income, you may be eligible for subsidies to reduce the cost of coverage.  Read more about these individual health coverage marketplaces here.

* If you missed our MomsRising webinar, catch another one offered by the Small Business Majority.   Check out their upcoming events in your town or online to learn more!

So, there's a lot to offer and a lot more to learn. 

What have you learned or want to learn about the opportunities for small business under health reform?


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