What Do the New ACA (Affordable Care Act) Laws Mean for Sole Proprietors and Small Businesses?

As of October 1, 2013, independent contractors and self-employed professionals are able to purchase healthcare coverage through online marketplaces set up by state governments. To find your online marketplace, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/.

Depending on your coverage needs, you may be able to find cheaper personal coverage through the state-run marketplaces. If you have employees and want to offer them insurance, you can visit the small-business insurance section of the website.

Here are a couple of the most important aspects of the new law:

  • As a business owner, you won't have to offer health care coverage if you have fewer than 50 employees.
  • You will personally need to have health insurance in 2014, or you'll have to pay a penalty (you're allowed to have lapses in coverage, potentially up to three months, but will ultimately need to be covered).
  • You'll need to purchase coverage that meets minimum requirements. The lowest acceptable coverage plans are called "Bronze" plans. They cover at least 60% of the average person's medical expenses.
  • Depending on the size of your family and your income, you may qualify for a subsidy on your insurance (visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's subsidy calculator for details).

Next: How Can You Get Lower Rates on Small Business Liability Insurance?

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