The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March, 2010, and some of its provisions are already in effect. These provisions focus on consumer protection, improving health care coverage and giving purchasers more value for their premium dollars. More changes are taking effect in late 2013 and beyond. Starting October 1, 2013, many individuals, self-employed, and small businesses will have a new way to shop for private health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace and its Small Business Health Options Program (the SHOP Marketplace), and may be eligible for tax credits and financial assistance. Starting in 2015, businesses with 50 or more employees who don’t offer insurance that meets certain minimum standards to their full-time employees could be required to make an Employer Shared Responsibility payment. 96% of businesses are below this threshold and will not be affected by the shared responsibility rules.

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