More small businesses offering healthcare after reform bill


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It's not news that many people - on either side of the aisle - were expecting. However, less than a year after the passage of the Democratic Party's landmark healthcare reform bill, there appears to have been a significant positive effect on the adoption of healthcare plans by small businesses.

The surprise comes from the fact that many opponents predicted the bill would reduce healthcare offerings by small and medium-sized busineses, while even the measure's proponents didn't expect to see benefits so quickly.

The motive, say insurers who are getting a surge of new business from small firms, is a tax incentive that essentially makes it cheaper for these small operations to offer their employees healthcare benefits. Many workers get jobs partly - or exclusively - to get regular health insurance , so these small businesses might see an opportunity to differentiate themselves in a slowly recovering labor market.

The Los Angeles Times published a report on the phenomenon, interviewing numerous health insurance providers around the nation. Take UnitedHealth Group, the largest insurer in the country, for instance. Since March, it has added 75,000 new customers working for companies with fewer than 50 employees. 

National statistics will be available once 2010's tax bill is calculated and collected; however, the boost could be significant. A small business with just a handful of employees can save as much as 35 percent of the its healthcare spending through the credit. 

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Business , Small Business
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