Webinars to offer info on revised health care signup for small businesses

Explanations of new SHOP enrollment process, tax credits on tap


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Employers considering signing up for health insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, can find out more about it through two federal webinars, one about the new way to sign up and another about the tax credit that goes along with it.

SHOP is the Affordable Care Act’s exchange for small group insurance plans, but until recently it was physically impossible for businesses to sign up for coverage.

Individuals seeking coverage have had well-publicized trouble getting through the healthcare.gov website, but glitches have apparently been fixed. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that 1,300 individuals selected a plan in the Granite State last month, compared with 269 in October, bringing the total to 1,569. Altogether, the state had 8,763 completed applications by Nov. 30, covering 17,234 people.

However the SHOP exchange won’t be fixed until November 2014, and there has been no way to submit a paper application, as there has been for individuals. So the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced that affected businesses can obtain a policy through an insurance agent.

A webinar scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, will provide an overview of the SHOP exchange, along with an explanation of the new enrollment process as well as information about how employers an qualify for a tax credit

(Here is the link: https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1026947).

The Internal Revenue Service is also offering a virtual town meeting specifically on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. That credit was available to all eligible business ever since the ACA went into affect in 2010, but will only be available to those on the SHOP exchange staring in 2014 (those sign up for a policy starting in 2013 can get the credit without going on the exchange, as long as a business does sign up for SHOP sometime in 2014.)

A tax credit is for employers with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees whose salaries average less than $50,000 a year, and only those with fewer than 10 employees earning an average of less than $25,000 are eligible for the full credit.

The IRS webinar will go into these and other details at a virtual town meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16

(https://events.na.collabserv.com/register.php?id=8a9908f59c&l=en-US) and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18 (https://events.na.collabserv.com/register.php?id=4a0ae67512&l=en-US).

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