Small Group Health Plans and financial assistance, San Jose, CA

I get this question a lot.  The easy answer is…..maybe.  If you’re an employer and have less than 25 employees that the average salary is a certain amount, then again, the answer is maybe.  I will tell you that the Obama administration was very misleading with the information associated with financial assistance and Small Group Health Plans.  How many times have you heard the soundbite of Obama talking about financial assistance for small employers.  Well, there are tax credits for some employers that qualify.  I use the term qualify very carefully.  I do a ton of speaking engagements and lecturing on ObamaCare and that question always comes up.  When I speak to a group of financial planners or CPAs, I love asking them how many of their clients actually qualified for the elusive financial assistance for Small Group Health Plans.  I’m usually met with nasty looks, shaking heads and sometimes actual booing.  The tax credit, or financial assistance sounds good, but the reality is that most groups do not qualify, for one reason or another.

ObamaCare tax credits for small businesses is hard to get

When the CA Health Exchange began crowing about the tax credits available to small businesses that offer Group Health Plans, I chucked to myself.  They were offering up to 50% assistance to small business that qualified.  Yes, it sounds good, but most companies don’t qualify.  In fact, many times the few companies that do qualify spend most of the money to their CPA that is trying to work the numbers to make it happen.  The tax credit can only be obtained by purchasing the Small Group Health Plan through the CA Health Exchange or Covered CA.  Prior to 2014 it was available with any plan on the market.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a few companies that actually benefited from the credits.  But for all the publicity and politicians singing the praises of the credits, very few qualify.  Another disappointment.

Disappointment with Covered CA, tax credits and the inner workings of the CA Health Exchange

I truly want the Exchange to work, I really do.  But how it was sold to brokers and the public was a travesty.  Much of it was ill planned and poorly administered.  Hopefully they can get their act together for 2015.  I’m appointed to sell within the Exchange and I have a few groups in Covered CA, but it really pisses me off when they outright lie to the public.  We all remember “IF YOU LIKE YOUR PLAN, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR PLAN”.  Kind of reminds me “read my lips…no new taxes”.  We will see how the next year shakes out.  I’m hopeful that the smart people within Covered CA will be able to change some of the processes within to the public’s benefit.

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