Health insurance is at the forefront of American's minds, especially since it's an election year. With politicians actively trying to solve the problem of health care in this country, it's important to consider how it affects you as a franchisee or small business owner.
Recently, the bipartisan Small Business "CHOICE" Act of 2008 was introduced to help small businesses offer affordable health insurance to their employees. The long version of the name is the Small Business Cooperative for Healthcare Options to Improve Coverage for Employees (CHOICE) and is designed to allow small businesses to form health insurance cooperatives. These cooperatives would act as risk pools, providing insurance against high-cost claims. The bill involves providing a tax credit as an incentive to join a cooperative.
The Small Business "CHOICE" Act seeks to address two important problems facing small businesses:
- The high cost of providing insurance for its employees
- The unpredictability of premium increases
By giving small business owners incentive for wellness programs and increasing the number of businesses that can offer affordable, comprehensive health insurance for employees, the bill essentially gives employers flexibility to choose the right plan for their employees. The bill also encourages small business purchasing groups to form, giving the private insurance market a boost.
International Franchise Association Vice President of Government Relations David French commented that, "... this legislation is a positive step forward in addressing the challenges facing franchised small business owners in providing health care coverage to employees."
The IFA is planning on supporting this bill so that it will pass. Since health insurance has become such a pivotal issue, it will be interesting to watch this bill make its way through Congress in the coming months.
The bill was introduced by House Small Business Committee Chair Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA).