The Affordable Healthcare program has taken a drubbing due to computer glitches. Hopefully now, as a business extension to the insurance program rolls out November 1, the website will run better.
This new insurance exchange, called SHOP, is specifically for small businesses. So it's worth taking a look at how the program measures up for small businesses like sole-proprietor woodworking business with a handful of employees.
Many woodworking businesses run with just a few employees, or just one employee - the owner. If you're such a self-employed woodworker with no employees, you can now get coverage through the individual Health Insurance Marketplace.
If you have a few employees or more, you can buy insurance through SHOP. And the government will underwrite a share of the cost.
"Obamacare will help small businesses with health-care costs, which have long been a source of anxiety," as financial columnist James Surowiecki points out. The reason: in current group plans, small businesses can face an "experience rating" based on a catastrophic health event for a single individual within the group. Once such an event hits, insurances companies can raise the rates.
"Insurance costs small companies 18% more than it does large companies," says Surowiecki. As a results, fewer than half the companies with under 50 employees provide insurance; and half of all uninsured workers work for small businesses, or are self-employed.
"In fact, a full quarter of small-business owners are uninsured, too," he points out.
The ability of single entrepreneurs and start-up businesses with just a handful of employees to obtain subsidized health insurance could lead to the development of even more small businesses, he says, citing a study that estimates 1.5 million businesses could form as a direct result of readily available health insurance.