The U.S. Treasury Department today announced that small businesses in Washington counties that don't have the option of purchasing a plan through the Washington Healthplanfinder, will be able to continue getting a tax credit of up to 50 percent to help them buy health coverage for their employees.
"This is welcome news for small businesses in Washington," said Governor Jay Inslee. "Small businesses in every county will now get financial support to help them buy comprehensive insurance for their employees. It is one more step toward fulfilling the full potential of the Affordable Care Act."
Currently, small businesses in most states are able to significantly reduce the cost of providing health care for their employees through subsidized plans on the federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). However, in Washington state, that option is only available in Clark and Cowlitz counties.
The small business health care tax credit was set to expire December 31, but today's announcement from the Treasury Department to extend the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit through 2014 to businesses that qualify means that small businesses in all counties will receive the same, significant tax credit to provide their employees a choice of quality, ACA-compliant health plans.
"I know there are small businesses all across Washington who want to provide health insurance to their employees," Inslee said. "Now, businesses in every county will get some financial relief to cover their employees. I hope they'll take advantage of this significant tax break."
Any eligible small employer with a principal business address in counties outside of Clark and Cowlitz may qualify for the tax credit by providing non-SHOP insurance in 2014. In the meantime, the Administration continues to work with the state insurance commissioner to bring SHOP plans into these counties for 2015.
"I am hopeful that by 2015 the Washington Health Benefit Exchange will have small business plans available through the Washington Healthplanfinder in every county," Inslee said. "Until then, I am pleased that this tax credit will be available to support our small businesses and the people they employ."
Through November, more than 179,000 people enrolled in health insurance through the Washington Healthplanfinder. This tax break extension will make comprehensive, affordable available to even more people in Washington.