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5 Ways Health Care Reform Will Benefit Auburn Gresham Small Businesses

Ruby’s, a restaurant in neighboring Garfield Park, is an important part of its local community.

  1. RIGHT NOW: Since March 2010, tax credits are being offered to small businesses owners with 25 or fewer full time equivalent employees in order to help them offset the costs of providing health insurance. Until 2014, small businesses who pay for at least half of their employees’ health care premiums will receive a tax credit to offset 35% of those premium costs. Starting in 2014, the tax credit will increase: for those small businesses who buy insurance through the insurance exchange (see #5 below), the tax credit increases to 50%. September 15th is an important deadline for filing so check out the tax credit calculator here to see if you are eligible.
  2. RIGHT NOW: Small businesses often struggle with unpredictable and often steep health insurance premium increases from year to year. One of the priorities of the Affordable Care Act is to implement consumer protections so that insurance companies are more transparent and accountable with things like premium increases. As of September 1, 2011, health insurers seeking to increase their premium rates by 10 percent or more must submit their request to state or federal reviewers to determine whether they are reasonable or not. This rate review program will bring more predictability to health insurance costs and in many cases will lower costs for small business owners.
  3. RIGHT NOW: If you or your employees are uninsured and have a pre-existing condition which prevents you from being able to purchase health insurance, you may be eligible for the Illinois Pre Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which was established by the Affordable Care Act. Questions? Call the Toll Free Number: (877) 210-9167, or email your question directly to
  4. LATER: Beginning January 1, 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to base coverage or pricing decisions on your health status so your pre-existing condition (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) will not make you “uninsurable” any more. This change is already in place for children under age 19.
  5. LATER: The new health reform law establishes a competitive healthcare marketplace, commonly known as an “insurance exchange” run by each state or the Federal government. Slated to be up and running by the beginning of 2014 in Illinois, the Exchange will make purchasing insurance easier for individuals and small businesses by giving them the power to compare health care plans in one digital hub. The Exchange will also ensure that quality health insurance options are available – and that subsidies are also available to those who need them. These online marketplaces will create competition among insurance companies that will help to drive down the costs of insurance. More information about Illinois’ progress toward establishing an Exchange, can be found here.

An employee and customer at Ruby’s. The owners of the restaurant currently can’t afford to pay for health insurance for their employees, but that could change with the Affordable Care Act reforms

Keywords: health, health care, health insurance, insurance, small businesses

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