What makes a job, a "good job?" For most people, having health insurance benefits is part of the answer. Unfortunately, the reality is that many jobs that offer competitive pay and opportunities do not provide health insurance, and current private market options can be far too expensive. The Affordable Care Act that President Obama signed into law two years ago is already putting actions in place to change that. Through the ACA, more workers and their families will have the health coverage they deserve. More jobs will become good jobs.
Affordable health care for all includes job creators being able to provide insurance to employees and saving money in the process. The ACA has created incentives for small business owners who enroll their workers in health plans. Businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35 percent of premium costs (up to 25 percent for non-profits) to offset the cost of providing health coverage. Starting in 2014, Affordable Insurance Exchanges will further assist businesses with 100 or fewer employees in finding health coverage. The Exchanges will do the work of locating qualified health plans and enrolling workers, leaving small employers to focus on growing their business.
More savings will be seen as the Exchanges lower costs for both employers and workers. This will create real competition and market pressure within the health insurance industry. With more money in their pockets from lowered insurance premiums, workers who already have good jobs will see them get even better. And those who do not have employer sponsored health insurance will finally be able to purchase affordable coverage on their own.
2014 and affordable coverage are fast approaching, but there are many workers who need to find insurance today. There is a resource at http://finder.healthcare.gov/. This tool can help you find insurance policies in your area that offer the lowest premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
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Young adults across the country have benefited from the ACA too. Since the law was enacted, 2.5 million young adults have been able to get health insurance coverage through their parents' plan. Children can now stay on their parent's plans until the age of 26 if they do not have coverage through their own job. This means more of our young people graduating from high school and college have coverage as they gain a foothold in the workforce and begin paying off loans, or continue their education. And more of them will pursue the career-making jobs that may not offer insurance, but that lead to good jobs in the future.
And what about those among us who will not be able to pay for health care, no matter how affordable? The ACA creates a voucher system for individuals that will offset the cost of insurance purchased though the Exchanges. These people will no longer be on the margins, both looking for that good job, and risking being overwhelmed by medical bills due to an unexpected illness or injury.
The Affordable Care Act is a breakthrough for our nation. It is helping to change the way we think about and approach work. It will make more jobs "good jobs."