The Affordable Care Act helps small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations afford the cost of covering their employees.
As of 2010, if a small business has fewer than 25 employees, pays average annual wages below $50,000, and provides health insurance, it may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35% (up to 25% for non-profits) to offset the cost of its insurance. This will make the cost of providing insurance much lower. Beginning in 2014, the small business tax credit goes up to 50% (up to 35% for non-profits) for qualifying businesses. Find more info here on the tax credit.
Starting in June 2010, employer-based plans that provide health insurance to retirees ages 55-64 will be able to get financial help through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program will lower the cost of premiums for all employees and reduce employer health costs.
Additionally, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees will have the opportunity to shop in an Exchange starting in 2014. An exchange is a new marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy affordable health benefit plans, giving small businesses power similar to what large businesses have to get better choices and lower prices. Exchanges will offer a choice of plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards. Furthermore, employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from new employer responsibility policies. This means that they don't have to pay an assessment if their employees get tax credits through an Exchange. Learn more about the Exchange.