Health Insurance Exchange
It’s currently open to employers with 10 or fewer employees in year one and 20 or fewer in year two. An amendment would make the exchange open to firms with 15 or fewer employees in year one and 25 or fewer in year two.
Pros: Employers will be able to purchase private or public option coverage and receive the benefits of large-group rates.
Would provide stabilized premium rates and protections against rate hikes if an employee becomes sick or injured
Cons: Some employers may be tempted to not provide insurance coverage and send employees to the exchange.
Some organizations believe it’s unfair to deny access to the exchange to companies with 21 or more employees.
Small Business Tax Credits
Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees earning an average wage of less than $40,000 will receive a tax credit for the cost of providing health insurance coverage. The credit cannot be applied to the cost of coverage for employees earning more than $80,000 per year.
Small businesses with 10 or fewer employees who on average earn $20,000 or less are eligible for a tax credit of up to 50%.
The credit rate would phase out as the number of employees and average wages increase and would fully phase out for firms that grow to 25 employees or average wages of $40,000.
Pros: Businesses with fewer than 25 employees will be exempt from the pay-or-play requirement.
Cons: The NFIB says that the average annual wage at most companies with 10 or fewer employees exceeds $30,000, thereby limiting the value of the tax credit. It also says that owners may stagnate wages to reap the benefits of the tax credit.