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New health care law breaks “job lock”

For many would-be entrepreneurs, health insurance constitutes a key factor in deciding whether to venture out on their own and transform ideas into businesses.

In the past, limited availability of affordable, quality health care deterred potential job creators from striking out on their own. Now, the Affordable Care Act gives American innovators a way out of “job lock” by providing access to quality, affordable health insurance, paving the way for more small businesses to get off the ground.

There are 23 million self-employed entrepreneurs in United States, and that number continues to rise. In Colorado alone, more than 450,000 self-employed firms contribute to our economy’s growth and success.

Under the Affordable Care Act, self-employed business owners have more options than ever to find affordable health coverage. Consequently, it’s important to know the facts about available choices before starting, or continuing to operate, a business.

In fact, one recent study by the Urban Institute estimated that by making health insurance more affordable and ending discrimination against pre-existing conditions, the federal health care law will enable an additional 1.5 million Americans to go into business for themselves.

Beginning in January, self-employed individuals and other consumers will be able to purchase insurance through new health insurance marketplaces.

All qualified health insurance plans offered in these new insurance marketplaces will cover a core package of “essential health benefits” ranging from preventive and wellness services to maternity care and mental health services. The plans will vary according to the percentage of costs the plans cover. In addition, issuers may offer catastrophic-only coverage, which includes prevention and several primary care visits, primarily to young adults under 30. 

Enrollment begins Oct. 1, and the marketplaces open in January. In Colorado, you can pick and choose the best plan for your small business at Connect for Colorado.

Self-employed individuals may also qualify for lower costs on monthly premiums when they purchase private health coverage in the marketplaces. When you fill out a marketplace application, you’ll learn if you qualify for these lower costs. Depending on income, consumers and the

self-employed also could qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs so they won’t have to pay as much for deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.

For more information on individual tax credits and cost-sharing reductions offered through the marketplaces as well as news about the latest developments, visit the website at www.healthcare.gov/what-if-im-self-employed.

In addition, it’s expected the marketplaces will reduce the rate of growth in health care costs by stimulating greater competition among private insurance companies. Just as in other sectors of the economy, when suppliers compete, consumers gain in terms of better choices, quality and cost.

As a result of provisions in the federal health care law, health care will be less of a barrier for people with the kinds of ideas that make for successful businesses.

For general questions about the new health insurance marketplace in Colorado, call (855) 752-6749

Matt Varilek is the newly appointed administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Region VIII, a six-state region that includes Colorado. Reach him at (303) 844-2607.
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