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Healthcare for Small Business? The Senate's Plan

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 24, 2009 8:45 AM

The Senate's intended Christmas present for all Americans promises to ensure that most Americans have insurance. The bill proposes healthcare coverage for 96% of Americans.

According to Reuters, the Senate healthcare bill also offers healthcare options for small businesses such as federal tax plans that would enable small business owners to provide healthcare coverage for their employees.

The Senate healthcare bill would also aim to create new insurance exchanges via states so that small business owners can shop around for the best health insurance policy for their small business. The Senate plans to offer state insurance exchange in all 50 states.

While this Senate healthcare bill has some great options for healthcare for small business, there are some issues. The Wall Street Journal reports that small businesses in the construction industry are up in arms about a last minute provision that excludes the construction industry from the small business healthcare exemptions in the bill. A small business is a company with 50 employees or less.

In the Senate healthcare bill, starting in 2013, any company with more than 50 employees must offer healthcare coverage or pay the government $750 per employee that receives a federal healthcare subsidy. The small business exemption for construction companies is 5 employees or fewer versus the general 50 employee cutoff.

Small businesses have been hit hard with health insurance coverage costs for their employees. According to Aneesh Chopra, the Federal Chief Technology Officer of the United States, small businesses pay 18% more in health coverage than big companies. If construction firms are not considered small businesses, then they will be hit with the increasing costs of healthcare for their employees.

For more information about healthcare reform, please visit our Related Resources links.

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