Early Provisions of Obamacare Are Increasing Small Business Health Coverage

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According to the Los Angeles Times newspaper, major health insurers around the country are reporting significant increases in the number of small businesses who offer coverage to their employees, since one of the earlier provisions of the health care reform bill went into effect.

“An important selling point has been a tax credit that the nation’s new healthcare law provides to companies with fewer than 25 employees and moderate-to-low pay scales to help offset the cost of providing benefits,” the Times reported.

“Nationally, three-quarters of businesses with 10 to 24 workers offer benefits. About half of those with three to nine employees provide health plans. By comparison, 99% of firms with more than 200 employees offer benefits,” the Times noted.

– In the six months since the Obama health reform bill was signed in March 2010, UnitedHealth Group Inc., the country’s largest insurer, added 75,000 new customers who work for companies with fewer than 50 employees.

-Coventry Health Care, an insurer in Maryland that focuses on small businesses, signed contracts to cover 115,000 new workers in the first nine months of this year, an 8% jump.

-Warner Pacific Insurance Services in Westlake Village, California, a major servicer of insurance brokers, has seen business grow more than 10% this year.

-And Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest insurer in the Kansas City, Mo., area, is reporting a 58% jump in the number of small businesses buying insurance since April, the first full month after the legislation was signed into law.

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