Reported by Liku Zelleke
When it comes to providing affordable health care for their employees, small businesses in America seem to have been handed a raw deal. Statistics show that they make-up 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms and are responsible for half of the jobs out there. And yet, when it comes to health coverage for their employees, they pay 18 percent more than their larger counterparts.
But that doesn’t have to be. Small businesses with less than 25 full-time employees may be eligible for the Affordable Care Act Tax Credit. It should be noted that in order to be considered full-timers, employees should work 2,080 hours a year and a group of part-time workers can be clumped together to be considered as one full-time employee.
Alternatively, small businesses with less than 50 full-time employees could get tax credits via the Small Business Health Options Program, or “SHOP” for short. This is an online marketplace that offers health and dental insurance coverage plans for the eligible business.
The criteria that need to be met include having 25 or less full-time employees with an average employee salary less than or equal to $50,000, and the business’ willingness to cover half of the premium costs for the full-time employees.
Businesses that meet all these requirements can obtain the coverage by simply heading to the online SHOP exchange, following which they will get up to 50 percent of the premiums paid out towards their employees’ health care. If the number of full-time employees is less than 10 and they make $25,000 or less on average, the tax credit could even be higher.
While there are some challenges the Affordable Care Act has had to face (and still does), many small businesses, micro-enterprises, and even self-employed freelancers are still able to get all the health coverage they need.