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Small Businesses

 “The irony is that we would be better off medically if we were to close our shop, claim disability, and go on Medicaid! We just don’t want to do that: we need affordable insurance to grow our business.”

Hatch Family Chocolates

Stephen Hatch, along with his wife, owns a very popular specialty chocolate shop, Hatch Family Chocolates, in the heart of Salt Lake City's Avenues district. As his small business continues to thrive, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide insurance to his employees, his family, and even for himself. Born with a condition called pseudoachondroplaysia, a common form of dwarfism, Stephen is constantly made aware that he is "different" by the current health insurance business model which is to avoid risk and charge higher premiums for those with conditions that may become expensive to manage. Though Stephen shares his “difference” with hundreds and thousands of people in the U.S. and he is an otherwise healthy, successful businessman, he cannot find decent affordable health insurance.

Better off on Medicaid…
"The irony is we would be better off medically if we were to close our shop, claim disability, and go on Medicaid! We just don’t want to do that. We need affordable insurance to grow our business. I don't know what the future brings, but without a change to our health care system, my wife and I, as well as thousands of other Utahns, will find themselves without health insurance.”

Anyone can become uninsurable at any time…
“It's not only those who are uninsured who are impacted by the health care crisis. The reality is that anyone can become uninsurable. The great health that you might enjoy today can change instantly. Perhaps your next routine check-up will reveal an unknown illness or maybe on your drive to work you get in an automobile accident.”

“Today there are hundreds and thousands of people without basic health insurance. Tomorrow, you may belong in that statistic. The time to change is now: we must to ensure that everyone has affordable access to full health insurance coverage."


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will help Stephen Hatch and his business in several ways:

First, as someone with a pre-existing condition: Beginning in 2014, new rules will end medical underwriting and pre-existing condition exclusions. Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage or setting rates based on health status, medical condition, claims experience, genetic information, evidence of domestic violence, or other health-related factors. Premiums will vary only by family structure, geography, actuarial value, tobacco use, participation in a health promotion program, and age (by not more than three to one).

Second, as a potential self employed or small business owner: Starting this year, businesses with 10 or fewer employees and annual average wages of less than $25,000 will be eligible to receive a 35 percent tax credit. The credit decreases as the number of employees and the annual average wages increase. It is eventually phases out at 25 employees and a $50,000 annual average wage. Nonprofit businesses are also eligible for credits starting at 25 percent. In order to participate, the business owner must pay at least 50 percent of the employee’s premium.

This system will only be in place until 2014, when the state-based exchanges are implemented. At that point, only small businesses that participate in the exchanges will be eligible for the credit, but the credit will be higher—up to 50 percent for private companies and 35 percent for nonprofits. For many small business owners, the passing of health reform means they will finally have a chance to offer affordable insurance not only to their employees, but to themselves as well.