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Obamacare’s Small Business Health Care Program Hits Snag

Obamacare small business exchange hits snag
(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

There’s a new program designed for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees through Obamacare, but it’s still going to cost you.

The Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP), is designed to allow companies with fewer than 50 employees to shop for what Health and Human Services calls “competitive coverage plans.”

Initially, small businesses were supposed to be able to sign up online at the government website, but that has been changed. Businesses now have to fax or mail in their information, and cannot signup online until at least Nov. 1. It’s being called a swindle by some politicians — another delay in the plan that is expected to add trillions to the national debt. In addition, SHOP is an additional cost that many small businesses cannot afford.

While small businesses often want to provide better health care plans for their workers,  sometimes they simply cannot afford the most inexpensive programs. SHOP doesn’t guarantee savings. From the HHS information release:

Employers buying health insurance through the SHOP Marketplace may also qualify for a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help defray their premium costs. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses with fewer than 25 full-time-equivalent employees have already received a tax credit of up to 35 percent of their contribution to employees’ health insurance premiums. Beginning in 2014, this tax credit will be worth as much as 50 percent of the employer’s contribution to premiums and will be available only to those purchasing coverage through the SHOP.”

The bold lettering was added for emphasis. They may qualify; it doesn’t say they will. In the meantime, the small business is now faced with thousands of dollars in additional costs, and that often results in no new hires — or worse — job cuts.

Additionally, besides taxes being raised on Americans making over $200,000 and larger companies, taxes were also raised on a wide variety of health-care related businesses providing many products from prosthetics to medicine. You would wonder how raising costs for hundreds of health-care providers and businesses is going to bring people’s health-care costs down?

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