On October 7, President Obama signed into law an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that leaves it up to states to determine whether businesses with 51–100 employees will be included in their small group markets in 2016.
The Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act, a bill that amends the Affordable Care Act, has passed the U.S. House and Senate. If signed by the President, the legislation would give states the right to determine what size business constitutes a “small business.”
On June 27, in his weekly address, President Obama said the Supreme Court decision to uphold a crucial provision in the Affordable Care Act, which allows individuals in states with federally run health insurance exchanges to receive a tax credit, means the law is “here to stay.”
The Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses are slated to reopen for open enrollment on Saturday, November 15. This enrollment period will mark the first time that Small Business Health Options Programs will be available online for businesses in all states.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will test the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP Exchanges), the health insurance exchange for small businesses, with a soft launch in late October in Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio.
The IRS has issued a notice stressing that employers that reimburse their employees pre-tax for premiums under a Health Reimbursement Account to pay for insurance in a health exchange could be subject to a fine of $100 per day per employee.
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With the new year, the Affordable Care Act’s health care tax credit for small businesses will increase from 35 percent to a maximum of 50 percent. The credit is meant to encourage small businesses and tax-exempt organizations to begin offering health insurance coverage to their employees or to maintain the coverage they already have.