October 5, 2012
Early next year the Virginia General Assembly will be making several important decisions about health care reform. The one that may have the most impact for small businesses is the creation of a Health Benefits Exchange, or HBE. A HBE is a new way for small businesses (and individuals) to buy health insurance. It allows many small businesses to join together in one pool to get better rates on health insurance. The HBE will mainly be an online marketplace and should allow small businesses lots of choices. The HBE should also give really clear information about costs and coverage to make choosing and easier task. The Commonwealth Institute has a good background piece on HBEs. It can be found at http://www.
This Thursday, October 4, JoAnne Grossi, the regional head of the US Department of Health and Human Services, will be speaking in Norfolk at the Church of the Ascension, 405 Talbot Hall Rd, 23505. Ms Grossi is an expert on health care reform. She will be speaking as part of the 9th Annual Public Meeting of Empower Hampton Roads.
According to an aide to Senator Durbin any business may now put a minimum $10 or less for Credit card purchases. He also says businesses may have a discount for cash, check or debit card. The aid spoke on a conference call last week for the national Main Street Alliance.
Starting this fall health insurance plans will be required to have a short summary of the cost and benefits of the plan. The Wall Street Journal has a good article at http://professional.wsj.com/
Eight health care benefits for women will now be covered with no co-pays. These benefits include “well-woman” visits, HPV DNA testing, breastfeeding support and domestic violence screening and counseling. Women will get access to these new benefits as health insurance policies renew. For more information see http://hamptonroads.com/2012/
The VHRI (Virginia Health Reform Initiative) has a brief study on its website about the economic benefits of health care reform. The study finds that there will be a short term loss of jobs (the state will lose 15,000 jobs between 2011 and 2013) because of health care reform. However, by 2014 health care reform will start adding jobs in the state and Virginia will see a net gain of 25,000 jobs (a total gain of 40,000 jobs) by 2018. The study is available at www.hhr.virginia.gov/
There is a federal income tax credit for small businesses that provide health insurance for their employees. The credit will carry over into the future if it is not all used in one year. IRS form 8941 contains information http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-
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