Empowering Small Businesses with Healthcare Choices
Small businesses are the lifeblood of local economies all across America. They create jobs, serve their communities, and have helped so many Americans achieve their goals and dreams. Many small businesses provide their employees with high-quality, affordable health coverage.
But in order to qualify for a small-business tax credit under the Affordable Care Act, businesses have been required to buy insurance for their employees from the Federally Facilitated Small Business Health Options Program (FF-SHOP). Accessing the tax credits via the SHOP has proven to be burdensome for small businesses. As a result, just 0.1 percent of small businesses in 33 states currently participate in these marketplaces, covering less than 40,000 individuals nationwide.
So we are making it easier for employers to find affordable insurance for their employees by improving the way that small businesses enroll in insurance coverage through the federal exchange.
On May 15, CMS announced their plan to propose enabling small businesses to enroll in SHOP plans directly through the agent, broker, or insurer of their choice and receive a simplified eligibility determination for tax credits on Healthcare.gov.
This approach empowers small business owners to work with their issuer of choice, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach dictated by the Affordable Care Act.
We are exploring every possible opportunity to reduce burdens on small businesses and American taxpayers. The CMS proposal takes a step in the right direction by making SHOP plans more readily available to small businesses and their employees, who deserve access to high-quality, affordable health insurance options.