Loleta White, Baltimore, MD: I've been working low wage jobs for 8 years. I've worked full time and part time and overtime. While working these jobs, I've never had health insurance. It's been a constant source of fear that my family and I would be financially ruined if I ever got badly hurt or sick. I'm glad that when the ACA goes in to effect no other workers will have to know that fear.
Even though more than 56% of the nonelderly in the US get their health insurance through their employer, there are still about 37 million uninsured Americans with at least one worker in the family.
One of the major obstacles employers face when trying to offer benefits to their employees is cost. Considering small businesses pay 18% more on average than larger businesses do for the same health plan, it’s easy to see why it can be difficult.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it is a little less daunting.
- Businesses with 25 or fewer employees may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35% (50% in 2014) to help cover the cost of insurance plans for your employees.
- For small businesses with fewer than 100 employees, once Affordable Insurance Exchanges (think of it as a grocery store for comparing private health insurance plans) are established, they can use their buying power to shop for the best plan for their employees and for the company.
- And you may hear a myth that all employers are required to offer health benefits to their employees, but this isn’t true. There is no mandate that employers offer health benefits. The requirement is for the .02% of businesses in America (companies with more than 50 employees who don’t offer health benefits to workers-- about 10,000 out of 6 million businesses) to pay a fee to help pay for and support the hospitals and other health care services their employees are still using. It’s holding big businesses accountable without placing the burden on the middle-class.
- Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to charge your group a higher rate due to your employees’ gender or because an employee gets older or sick.
Not to mention those rebates. Insurance companies must spend 80-85% of premiums on actual health care services or insurance policy holders get a rebate for the difference. This will help keep rates low and ensure small businesses get their money’s worth.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, so it’s important that we take care of our small-business employees.
The Affordable Care Act helps employers and employees focus on the task at hand—jobs.
Because one American every 20 minutes is one too many.
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