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Health insurance workshops aid small businesses

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By Arin McKenna

As the final stages of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into effect, new insurance options are opening up for small businesses as well as individuals.

Last week, the Chamber of Commerce conducted the second of four workshops designed to steer small business owners through the key points of the new system, facilitated by Terry Linton.

Although businesses with two to 50 employees are not required to provide insurance for their employees, and there will be no penalty if they don’t, the ACA has provisions to make insurance more accessible and affordable to them.

The Small Employers Health Options Plan (SHOP) is the key instrument for that, offering small employers tools for selecting the best options for their business.

SHOP allows employers a choice of Qualified Health Plans (QHP), plans that meet the basic requirements of the ACA. It assembles all the plans in one place for easy comparison and allows employers to register online.

New Mexico’s health insurance exchange offers four providers: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Lovelace, Presbyterian and the newly formed New Mexico Health Connections. NMHC is a non-profit cooperative created with grant money from the ACA. NMHC is New Mexico’s first venture into nonprofit insurance.

United Health Care is not participating in the exchanges.


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