The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Small Businesses

As mentioned on Facebook, I recently attended a seminar on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and how it affects businesses. While the seminar offered information on businesses of all sizes, this post will deal primarily with small businesses.

PPACA was signed into law in March 23, 2010. It has multiple provisions that are phased in beginning in immediately until 2020. Immediately after passage, multiple groups began attempts to fight the legislation, including through the court system. At this time, the results of some of these attempts have made it through levels of the court system, including the National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which was heard by the United States Supreme Court and decided in June of 2012.

PPACA breaks companies up into three main categories. The first is self-employed individuals – those who are self-employed and have no employees. The second is small businesses – businesses with less than 50 full time employees. The third is large businesses – businesses with 50 or more full time employees.

Self-employed individuals have two options for health insurance under the law. Regarding insurance, self-employed individuals can buy either small business plans or individual plans depending on what is offered in the state. Self-employed individuals can also choose to be uninsured and pay a tax for failure to purchase insurance.

Small businesses are not required to provide health insurance for their employees. In some instances, small businesses can get tax credits if they choose to purchase insurance for their employees. Starting in 2014, small businesses can also purchase plans for their businesses through insurance exchanges, with the idea that the plans will be similar in costs to group plans offered by large employers. (Of course, this is in theory as exchanges are not currently up and running.) However, if a small business crosses from being a small business to a large business (hiring that 51st person), then new regulations come into play, including requiring the business to offer health insurance or pay large fines.

So, where does this leave the small business? Small businesses that didn’t have any insurance advisor now need someone in their rolodex (or the more 21st century version address book online). Prior to bringing on any new employees, and especially one that will increase the number employed by a business to 51 (which may include owners in some instances), small business owners must talk to their insurance agent and CPA to determine if PPACA makes hiring someone else a small financial burden or a huge one.

If you have questions about PPACA or need a referral to an insurance agent that works with small businesses, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, your small business lawyer, today at 720-258-6647 or by email at

About Elizabeth Lewis
Elizabeth Lewis is a small business attorney, mother of two, and owner of the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, PC. She works with small businesses from start up to dissolution and everything in between. In addition to running her law firm, she teaches small business owners throughout the state at various business groups, is part of the Colorado Bar Association's Business Law Section, and several chambers. Legal Background Following the advice that she has given hundreds, Denver Business Attorney Elizabeth Lewis became a small business owner in January of 2010. She opened the doors to her own law firm, the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C. which specializes in business, intellectual property, technology, and online law. Prior to starting her own business law firm, she worked for the Law Firm of David A. Sprecace, P.C., where she developed the firm’s business and technology law practice. She also has extensive experience in these fields from working under the lead attorney at the CU Technology Transfer Office where she wrote licensing, non-compete, employment, and business contracts. IT Background Prior to attending CU Law School, Elizabeth worked at Experian, one of the largest credit bureaus in the country providing IT support as part of the email-marketing department. She holds a Masters of Science in Computer Information Technology, gained while working in system administration prior to law school. She continues to be active in the IT community by attending conferences, classes, and events to learn about new technology before it hits the internet. Education Elizabeth Lewis is a native of Denver, Colorado. She has attended Holy Family High School, Metropolitan State College of Denver (Bachelor of Arts), and Regis University (Masters of Science). She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado Law School and continues her legal education taking Continuing Legal Education classes from the Colorado Bar Association and Denver Bar Association on a regular basis. Additional Activities Elizabeth regularly participates in the Denver Bar Association and Colorado Bar Association. She recently was named the head of the e-Commerce Section of the Business Law Section, Colorado Bar Association. Elizabeth is active in her community and hold memberships with the Fax Partnership, South Metro Chamber of Commerce, Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Bar Association, and Denver Bar Association. She teaches regularly at locations throughout the Front Range. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family which includes her husband, two sons, and dog and enjoying all that her home state has to offer, including hiking, biking, enjoying over 300 days of sunshine a year, and most recently crossfit.

1 Comment on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Small Businesses

  1. Thanks for sharing this post. PPACA has been creating a positive buzz lately and I just can’t help but get tangled up with it. You did a really great job on this one.

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