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Health Care Reform Helps Small Businesses Offer Coverage: Report
Date:9/2/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- As the provisions of the Affordable Care Act begin to be implemented, many small businesses in the United States will be able to take advantage of new tax credits, a new report shows.

During the first phase of the act, some businesses employing some 16.6 million workers will be eligible for these tax credits, according to the report released Thursday from the Commonwealth Fund.

"The new law is likely to have a significant impact on affordability and access to health care coverage for small business owners and employees," Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis said during a press conference Wednesday.

Research has shown that small companies pay more than large companies for the same health care coverage, Davis said. "Small firms face higher premiums due to higher costs in the small business market related to administration, marketing, brokers' fees and other overhead," she explained.

Many small businesses find health insurance is not affordable so they do not offer coverage, Davis noted. But, provisions of the Affordable Care Act target small businesses, she said.

The tax credits designed to offset health insurance premiums and help small businesses afford health insurance will start this year, Davis said.

By 2013, as many as 3.4 million workers may work in companies that take advantage of the tax credit. These credits increase in 2014, from 35 percent of the employer's premium contribution to up to 50 percent, she noted.

According to the report, small businesses need help in being able to provide their workers with health insurance. Almost all (98 percent) of large companies cover their employees, compared with 46 percent of businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

Also, in companies with fewer than 50 employees, 52 percent of the workers are uninsured or under-insured.

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