GUEST:  Eric Ness, Wisconsin Director, U.S. Small Business Administration

What does the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mean for small businesses?  Currently, small businesses pay on average 18% more than big businesses for health insurance.  The ACA is structured to help small businesses by lowering premium cost growth and increasing access to quality, affordable health insurance.  The Small Business Administration is working to inform businesses on the actual guidelines for businesses under the ACA and to answer the increasing questions from businesses as October 1st approaches – the date when individuals and businesses will first have the opportunity to enroll in the new health insurance competitive marketplaces called Exchanges.
On this program, Eric Ness explains that small businesses – firms that have fewer than 50 employees which is nearly 96% of all U.S. businesses – are not required to provide health insurance to their employees.  The ACA offers the opportunity for more firms to be able to do so because of wider choices in the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) Marketplaces.
For more details on the updated ACA guidelines, the benefits and rules for businesses, and the SHOP Marketplaces, go to any of the following websites:  www.healthcare.gov;  www.sba.gov/healthcare;  www.irs.gov;  www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform.