Rep. Erin Murphy. Representing St. Paul District 64A

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Learn how small businesses can take advantage of federal health care reform

The crushing cost of health insurance for small businesses was one of the driving forces for federal health care reform. Now that it’s law, it’s important for small business owners to know how they will be affected by reforms to address cost, unpredictable premiums, and lack of access to affordable choices.

The Small Business Majority (a non-partisan national non-profit organization created by small business owners) has released helpful information for small business owners to understand how federal health care reform will impact them.

They have also created a Small Business Calculator where small business owners can calculate the tax credit they will receive by offering health insurance to their employers

Here are a few of the significant ways federal health care reform will support small businesses:

Lower costs

Small business tax credits - Creates a $40 billion tax credit from 2010 to 2019, providing approximately 4 million small businesses with a tax credit to offset employer health plan costs.

Cost containment - Creates a small business health pool to spread risk and eliminates cost shifts that add to hidden tax passed on to everyone’s care when the uninsured seek expensive treatment in emergency rooms.

More choices

Simplified options - Provides small businesses, including the self-employed, a new option for a simplified cafeteria plan to provide tax-free benefits to employees.

Temporary High-Risk Pool - Creates a temporary high-risk pool in 2010, funded with $5 billion, to allow individuals who have been uninsured for six months and have a preexisting condition to buy affordable comprehensive coverage.

Insurance reforms

Preexisting conditions - Prohibits medical screening for health conditions and makes it unlawful to deny coverage for preexisting conditions for serious health conditions.

Oversight on premium increases - Establishes new processes for federal and state review of premium increases. Among other things, states may recommend that insurers not be allowed to participate in the exchanges due to unreasonable premium increases.

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