Niagara Gazette

Opinion

July 19, 2013

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

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Enrollment begins on October 1st, and the Marketplaces open in January 2014. The New York Health Benefit Exchange will serve New Yorkers who can apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll after it opens. For more information, visit http://healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov/ 

Self-employed individuals may also qualify to get lower costs on monthly premiums when they purchase private health coverage in the Marketplace. When you fill out a Marketplace application, you will learn if you qualify for these lower costs. Depending on income, consumers and the self-employed may also 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 and to stay connected with the latest information, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/what-if-im-self-employed. 

It’s also important to know that, beginning in 2014, the Individual Shared Responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act call for each individual to have: basic health insurance coverage (known as minimum essential coverage) for each month; qualify for an exemption; or, make an Individual Shared Responsibility payment when filing a federal income tax return starting in 2015.   

However, if coverage is unaffordable, if you spend less than three consecutive months without coverage, or if you qualify for an exemption for other reasons (including hardship and religious beliefs), you will not be required to make a payment.  For more information on these and other provisions impacting the self-employed, visit www.sba.gov/healthcare. 

For many self-employed entrepreneurs, health coverage is a key factor in deciding whether to venture out on their own and transform an idea into a business.  For the first time ever, the Affordable Care Act is giving America’s innovators a way out of “job lock” by providing access to quality, affordable health insurance to help offer peace of mind to entrepreneurs while they turn their minds to helping the economy grow and thrive.  And in a country built on the spirit of entrepreneurship, this is good news for us all. 

Bernard J. Paprocki is the U.S. Small Business Administration mid-atlantic acting regional administrator. To learn more, contact your local SBA district office, or visit www.sba.gov/healthcare.

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