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Health insurance requirements for self-employed and small businesses

Businesses with 50 or fewer employees are NOT required to provide health insurance. However, there are incentives available if you choose to provide insurance to your employees or obtain insurance for yourself.

Businesses with 50 or more employees ARE required to provide health insurance.

HealthCare.gov is a government website that provides pricing information for different health insurance options as well as tax credit information. There is a tool to help you quickly identify the information that you need.

Link to the Finder Tool at HealthCare.gov

Individuals (including self-employed) who are not exempt must have health insurance or pay a shared responsibility payment when filing their federal income tax return. A summary of the exemptions is found here:

Information from the SBA on health insurance requirements for business, including exemption information.

Open enrollment for health insurance begins October 2013 (although you can get regular health insurance before then). There are credits for individuals purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act if your income is less than 400% of the national poverty level (about $43,000 for an individual or $88,000 for a family of four). The credits are paid directly to the health insurance company, with lower monthly cost to the individual.

If your business provides provides health insurance to employees who earn less than $50,000, your business can receive a tax credit (at year-end) - currently 35%, but raising to 50% in 2014. The tax credit is less for non-profit employers.