Small business health insurance options
By Oct. 1, small businesses must send a notice to their employees explaining how health reform may impact them. The U.S. Dept. of Labor provides a model notice for employers who provide health insurance (PDF, 217KB) (www.dol.gov) and another model notice for employers who don’t provide health insurance (PDF,207KB ) (www.dol.gov).
Buying small business insurance under health reform
Under health reform, if you already provide health insurance for your employees, you can keep your coverage.
If you don't offer your employees health insurance and they don't get coverage through a spouse or partner, they must buy their own individual health plan. Open enrollment in the new exchange, Wahealthplanfinder.org starts Oct. 1.
Small businesses in Clark and Cowlitz counties have another option. They can buy a small group health plan through Wahealthplanfinder.org but only from Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest.
Depending on when you buy your plan, coverage starts as soon as Jan. 1.
Most insurance companies that sell individual health plans also sell small group plans.
Options if you're self-employed
You might qualify to buy small group health insurance, even if you're self-employed.
- You must be in business for at least one year.
- In the previous tax year, you must have earned at least 75 percent of your income from the business. (If your business income falls below 75 percent in a tax year, you'll no longer qualify for small group insurance.)
- You must file an IRS Form 1040(C) or (F).
Small business health care tax credit
As part of health reform, some small businesses could qualify to receive the following tax credits (www.irs.gov) for the cost of health insurance:
|For-profit businesses||Up to 35%|
|Non-profit businesses||Up to 25%|
Many small-business trade associations, such as the National Federation of Independent Business (www.nfib.com) and the Small Business Majority (www.smallbusinessmajority.org), offer online calculators that help you find out if your business qualifies for a tax credit.
For more information on the small business health care tax credit (www.irs.gov), contact the Internal Revenue Service (www.irs.gov).