SPOKANE, Wash. - At least one facet of the new federal health care
reform law should pay off this year for small business owners in
Washington. The group Families USA
crunched the numbers and
estimates that about 110,000 businesses in the state, all with fewer
than 25 employees, will be able to get tax credits for health insurance
that they provide to employees. More than 32,000 of the smallest
companies will qualify for the maximum tax credit, which is about
one-third of their insurance premiums.
Joshua Welter, director of the Main Street Alliance
, says it
might even result in more health coverage for Washington workers.
"It'll be a help to the small business that is currently offering
coverage but struggling to afford to do so, struggling to maintain the
quality of benefits they want for their employees. It'll also be a
benefit to those businesses that want to provide coverage, but for which
it's just been a little bit out of reach."
Welter says the maximum tax credit of 35 percent of premium costs goes
to businesses that employ ten or fewer people, whose average wages are
less than $25,000 a year. His group has a calculator on its website for
businesses to estimate their credits, at mainstreetalliance.org
For Jeannine Vaughn, who owns Revival Lighting, a retail lighting
business with eight people on the payroll in Spokane, the credit will be
$5500. While she is grateful for the tax break, she says she's waiting
for another part of the reform law to kick in: a health insurance
exchange, so she can compare costs and coverage more easily.
"Oh, it's terrible. I spend most of the month of December shopping for
the best rates and figuring out a way to keep us insured. Y'know, what
kind of deductible, what kind of plan, if they get doctor's visits or
not - and just trying to find what I can do that'll best keep our people
The health insurance exchange has to be up and running in every state by
2014. Vaughn says for her company, it can't happen quickly enough. In
the 11 years she's been in business, she's had to increase deductibles
from $50 to $2500.