HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Several dozen professionals gathered Thursday morning at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County to learn how the Affordable Care Act will impact their small businesses in Madison County.
Led by Small Business Administration Alabama District Director Tom Todt, the 7:30 a.m. Affordable Care Act 101 seminar featured an overview of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) and Employer Shared Responsibility for Employee Health Coverage.
Citing the National Federation of Independent Business, Todt said the top concern since 1986 among small businesses has been access to affordable health care. Todt said small businesses on average pay 18 percent more than larger companies for health coverage.
In October, individuals and small businesses will be able to buy health insurance by enrolling in the new individual and Small Business Health Insurance Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces. The marketplaces will provide side-by-side health insurance comparisons.
By Jan. 1, 2014, the marketplaces will open in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. At that time, self-employed workers will be required to have health insurance that meets minimum coverage standards, qualify for an exemption or be subject to an assessable payment.
A year later, all businesses with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees must offer coverage to workers or face a potential Employer Shared Responsibility payment.