Niagara Gazette

Opinion

July 19, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Affordable Care Act: Key to opening "job lock" for entrepreneurs

Niagara Gazette — There are currently 23 million self-employed entrepreneurs in United States, and that number continues to rise.  In New York state alone, more than 1.5 million self-employed firms are contributing to our economy’s growth and success.  These innovative entrepreneurs reflect a diverse array of professions and businesses that are helping to drive our economy — from consultants and IT specialists to painters and roofers.  

As the number of self-employed individuals continues to grow thanks to technology that allows more geographic flexibility and baby boomers looking to open their own firms, one key concern for entrepreneurs looking to go into business for themselves has historically remained unaddressed: health care.  But the Affordable Care Act is offering exciting new options for health coverage for the self-employed. 

We know that increased access to quality, affordable health care will make it easier for potential entrepreneurs to go out on their own instead of staying at larger firms simply because of “job lock” or the lack of access to affordable insurance outside of work. 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 law will enable an additional 1.5 million Americans to go into business for themselves. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, self-employed business owners now have more options than ever to find affordable health coverage, and it’s important to know the facts about the choices available as you start, or continue to operate, your own business. 

First, beginning in January 2014, self-employed individuals and other consumers will be able to purchase their insurance through new Health Insurance Marketplaces (also referred to as Exchanges).

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 health plan covers.  Additionally, issuers may offer catastrophic-only coverage, which includes free prevention and several primary care visits, primarily to young adults under 30 years of age.  

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