UPDATE FROM THE VIRGINIA MAIN STREET ALLIANCE MARCH 29, 2011
There is a federal tax credit for businesses that provide health insurance for their employees. The IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=223666,00.html is an easy way to understand the tax credit. You may need to cut and paste the website into your browser.
The Virginia Main Street Alliance is currently conducting a survey of small businesses. The survey is about options the state has on implementing health care reform. (Remember that while the federal congress passed health care reform, it will be up to the state of Virginia to implement it) The survey is designed both to gather input from small businesses and to educate businesses about options the state has. You can take the survey online at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/online-bb.
As part of the transition to covering people with pre-existing conditions, the federal government has set up a Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan in Virginia. Anyone who has been uninsured for at least six months and has been turned down because of a pre-existing condition can purchase health insurance through this plan. Monthly premiums run from $156 to $518.
Go to http://www.healthcare.gov/law/provisions/preexisting/index.html for more information.
It looks like there may be controversy over the requirement that health insurance companies spend at least 80% of dollars collected in insurance premiums on actual health care. Many people see this requirement as a way to keep premiums lower. However, Virginia can ask for a waiver from this requirement and it appears that the health insurance industry is pushing Virginia to ask for a waiver.
The Regional Director of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), JoAnn Grossi was in Central Virginia last week. She gave a good summary of health care reform to audiences in Richmond and Petersburg.
The website www.healthcare.gov is a new resource for information about health care reform. The sight even allows you to look for health insurance options.
The state has started a new one-stop website to assist businesses in Virginia. The website address is www.bos.virginia.gov. The highly touted website focuses on new businesses and provides links to many government sources of help.
Virginia Main Street Alliance, a project of Virginia Organizing