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With enrollment in our nation’s new health care system quickly approaching, 3,432,359 small businesses across the state of California are preparing and educating themselves about the impact of the sweeping new health care reform law enacted by Congress last year.

In advance of the open enrollment period beginning October 1st, The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), the nation’s leading advocate and resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses released a key guide, the Affordable Care Act in Brief, to educate and help assist California’s small business community during this transition period.

“While the new law may provide better and more comprehensive health coverage for many of California’s smallest businesses, it will come at a significant cost,” said Katie Vlietstra, NASE’s Director of Government Affairs. “Over 3.4 million self-employed and micro-businesses throughout the state of California are bracing for an increase in health care costs coming their way.  Our fear is that many of these small businesses will conduct a cost-benefit analysis and decide to pay the penalty because the cost of coverage is just too expensive and they do not qualify for any premium assistance.”

The Affordable Care Act in Brief highlights how the new health care law will impact 23 million self-employed and micro-businesses nationwide, including the 3,432,359 in California. It outlines the pros and cons of health care coverage small businesses must consider while underlining the lack of information in the public domain about the health care law, the Exchanges and details of enrollment requirements.

California Small Business Fast Facts*

    * 2,887,014 self-employed in California in 2011
          o 1,171,850 in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metro area
          o 146,282 in Sacramento–Arden-Arcade-Roseville metro area
          o 380,275 in San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area
          o 237,793 in San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos metro area
    * 545,345 micro-businesses in California (businesses with fewer than 10 employees) in 2010
    * $ 62,994,430 in annual revenue for self-employed in 2011
    * $16,382,007 in annual revenue for micro-businesses in 2010

A keystone of the ACA is the requirement that new health marketplaces, known as an Exchange, be set up in every state to offer health coverage options to individuals, families and small businesses to meet this new health coverage requirement.  The Exchanges will be offered and operated either by a state, a partnership between the state and the Federal Government, or just the Federal Government for those in states who have opted out and will default to the Federal Exchange.

Beginning on January 14, 2014, Americans will be required to purchase health care coverage or pay a penalty. Enrollment in the Exchanges will open on October 1, 2013.ย  In addition to the NASE’s small business health resource center, the government recently re-launched a new website portal for the public to learn more about the new health care law and it’s Exchanges.

*latest information available from 2010 and 2011 provided by the U.S. Census Bureau Statistics on Nonemployer and U.S. Small Businesses

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