Overhaul brings help for small business

    The most sweeping changes in the new health overhaul bill won’t begin until 2014. But one change for small business owners is set to start this year.

    The most sweeping changes in the new health overhaul bill won’t begin until 2014. But one change for small business owners is set to start this year.

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    Companies with 25 workers or fewer could earn a tax credit to help them cover the cost of providing health insurance.

    Philadelphia real estate developer Ken Weinstein has four full-time employees. Right now those workers find their own insurance and Weinstein reimburses some of them.

    Weinstein: We will be able be able to have one health insurance plan that covers each of our employees, and we will be able to offer health insurance to all employees as soon as they start work here.

    Critics say the subsidy actually discourages small companies from growing. The smallest firms with the lowest wages will get a 35 percent subsidy on the cost of health insurance. But as firms add workers, or average wages rise, the subsidy shrinks.

    Kevin Shivers is the Pennsylvania director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

    Shivers: So at the end of the day, in the deepest recession in America in the last 30 years, this piece of legislation is actually going to be a job killer.

    Weinstein says he thinks the tax credit will help him compete with large companies that offer generous health benefits.

    Only companies with an average worker salary below $50,000 will qualify. This year, the smallest firms could earn a full 35 percent off the cost of health insurance premiums.

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