Small Businesses to See Share of $1.1 Billion in Health Insurance Rebates this Summer

On June 21, the Department of Health and Human Services released figures showing health insurance customers are due rebates totaling $1.1 billion from insurance companies that spent too little of their premium dollars on health care in 2011. These rebates are thanks to the 80/20 “value for premiums” rule in the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar collected in the small group and individual markets on health care (as opposed to lobbying, advertising, executive compensation, and general administration).

 

HHS also released state by state numbers (available here) for the total amount of rebates and the number of insurance customers who will benefit. These figures include: $123.6 million for 1.3 million consumers in Florida; $86.5 million for 1 million consumers in New York; $61.8 million for 300,000 consumers in Illinois; $43.1 million for 687,000 consumers in Virginia; and $27.9 million for 141,000 consumers in Maryland.

 

While rebates are not due until August 1, small businesses are already benefiting from the 80/20 rule in another way: it’s been forcing insurers to hold premiums down in attempts to avoid owing rebates to customers. The Main Street Alliance released the following quotes from businesses that are already benefiting from the 80/20 rule in this way:

 

Louisa McQueeney, CFO of Palm Beach Groves in Lantana, Florida:

 

“Last November, our health insurance agent called with our renewal: after annual increases of 12 percent, 22 percent, and even 32 percent, our premiums in 2012 were going to increase by a grand total of 0.2 percent. That is, essentially flat. This flat renewal came with exactly the same plan – no dumbing down the coverage, no increase in our deductibles, everything was the same.

 

“I’m thanking ObamaCare’s 80/20 rule for holding my premiums in check. And now, with the new announcement of more than $123 million in rebates due to 1.3 million people in Florida, we may even get a rebate on top of that. For the first time in my twelve years running this business, the health care picture is finally looking up.”

 

Brian England, owner of British American Auto Care in Columbia, Maryland:

 

“We renew our insurance in August every year, so around June is when I usually start to get nervous. When we sat down with our agent last summer, I was bracing myself for the bad news. But when he gave us our quotes, my worry turned to disbelief. Our rates were going DOWN 6 percent! I almost fell off my chair.

 

“The first thing I asked was, ‘why?’ I just couldn’t make sense of it. Our agent explained the rate cut was thanks to the medical loss ratio requirement in the Affordable Care Act. The health care law is working for my business. It passes this technician’s inspection test with flying colors.”

 



Cupcake Royale Owner to Congress: Move Forward on Health Care

Congressional testimony may seem a long ways away from cupcake baking, but not for Jody Hall. Hall, owner of Seattle's fast-growing Cupcake Royale and a leader with the Main Street Alliance of Washington, traveled to Washington, DC on May 31 to testify about health care reform before a House committee.

Hall told the story of her business, her commitment to offering health care to her employees, and her support for the Affordable Care Act's state insurance exchanges and other provisions of the law that are putting downward pressure on health care costs for small businesses.

Click here to read Jody's op-ed in The Hill.

Click here to read her written testimony for the House Education & Workforce Committee's HELP Subcommittee.


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Tax Haven Abuse by Corporations Shortchanges U.S. Treasury to Tune of $2,116 for Every Small Business in America

On April 12, the Main Street Alliance joined U.S. PIRG, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Business for Shared Prosperity and the American Sustainable Business Council at a Capitol Hill press conference releasing U.S. PIRG’s new report “Picking Up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens.”

According to the report, tax haven abuse by U.S. corporations shortchanges the U.S. Treasury of revenues by an average of $2,116 for every small business in America (using Census numbers for businesses with fewer than 100 employees).

“When big corporations use loopholes and tax havens to avoid paying taxes, they’re robbing our country of the revenues we need to invest in our future and support small businesses,” said Aimee McQuilkin, owner of Betty’s Divine, an independent clothing boutique in Missoula, Montana and a leader with the Montana Small Business Alliance and Main Street Alliance. “If you want to fly the American flag outside your corporate headquarters, you should pay your way.”

Click here to read the report
Click here to read MSA's press release about the event


April 12: Report: Tax Haven Abuse Shorts U.S. Treasury to Tune of $2,116 for Every Small Business in America

Click here to view formatted copy of this release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 12
CONTACT: Rachel Tardiff, rachel[at]fitzgibbonmedia.com

REPORT: TAX HAVEN ABUSE BY U.S. CORPORATIONS SHORTS U.S. TREASURY OF REVENUES TO TUNE OF $2,116 FOR EVERY SMALL BUSINESS IN AMERICA

Main Street Alliance joins U.S. PIRG, Rep. Van Hollen, Business for Shared Prosperity to release report highlighting cost of tax haven abuse to small businesses

** State by state numbers on cost of tax haven abuse to small businesses available **

Washington, DC – On Thursday morning, the Main Street Alliance joined U.S. PIRG, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Business for Shared Prosperity and the American Sustainable Business Council at a Capitol Hill press conference releasing U.S. PIRG’s new report “Picking Up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens.”

According to the report, tax haven abuse by U.S. corporations shortchanges the U.S. Treasury of revenues by an average of $2,116 for every small business in America (using Census numbers for businesses with fewer than 100 employees). Click here to read the report (small business section on page 10, state by state tables on pp. 17-18).

“When big corporations use loopholes and tax havens to avoid paying taxes, they’re robbing our country of the revenues we need to invest in our future and support small businesses,” said Aimee McQuilkin, owner of Betty’s Divine, an independent clothing boutique in Missoula, Montana and a leader with the Montana Small Business Alliance and Main Street Alliance. “If you want to fly the American flag outside your corporate headquarters, you should pay your way.”

Joseph Rotella, owner of Spencer Organ Company in Waltham, Massachusetts and a leader with Business for Shared Prosperity, spoke at the report release event on Capitol Hill. “While I’ll be paying my taxes – investing in the public infrastructure and services that underpin our economy – many profitable large corporations will be paying a lower tax rate than me or not paying taxes at all,” Rotella said. “That puts small businesses at a competitive disadvantage and undermines our nation. We need to stop the tax haven abuse that lets big corporations avoid paying their fair share and gives them an unfair advantage in the marketplace.”

According to a Senate investigation, the U.S. Treasury loses an estimated $100 billion a year due to tax haven abuse, with $60 billion of that being tax avoidance by U.S. corporations.

In a recent scientific survey of 500 small business owners nationwide, nine out of ten small business owners say U.S. multinationals’ use of accounting loopholes to shift profits to offshore subsidiaries to avoid taxes is a problem. Three quarters of small business owners say their small business is harmed when loopholes allow big corporations to avoid taxes. And more than two thirds of small business owners believe big corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes. Full survey results are available here: http://bit.ly/report-taxes

The Main Street Alliance, Business for Shared Prosperity, and other business groups have signed on in support of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and the CUT Loopholes Act, bills sponsored by U.S. Senator Carl Levin to rein in tax haven abuse and recover lost revenues.

Click here to read the “Picking Up the Tab” report: http://uspirg.org/reports/usp/picking-tab

# # #


Straight Talk on Taxes with Small Business Owners

With Tax Day around the corner, tax policy is front and center this week. So are claims about how changes to the tax code will affect small businesses. The Main Street Alliance released a pair of new fact sheets in its "straight talk" series separating truth from fiction when it comes to small business and taxes. One fact sheet focuses on the Buffett Rule, which would ensure that taxpayers earning over $1 million a year pay a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent. The other fact sheet focuses on corporate taxes and small business views on corporate tax contributions.

Read the new "Straight Talk on Taxes" fact sheets:
The Buffett Rule and Small Business
Corporate Taxes and Small Business 


Daughter of Auto Shop Owners Speaks on Supreme Court Steps, Tells Story of Family Business

Helen Dally, whose parents own an auto repair shop in Oregon, spoke at a press conference on March 27 outside the Supreme Court, sharing how the Affordable Care Act is helping her get health coverage and helping her family’s business. Her parents’ auto shop is benefiting from lower premiums and a new tax credit thanks to the ACA, calling into question a challenge to the health law from a group that claims to be “the voice of small business.”

“The Affordable Care Act has thrown my parents’ business a lifeline,” Dally said. “Last year, instead of a double digit increase, their premiums went DOWN 3 percent. Plus, they qualified for the ACA’s small business tax credit – and got a credit of $12,900. My dad says the Affordable Care Act is ‘like a time machine’– rewinding their health insurance costs to what they paid in 2007.”

“The Supreme Court should protect these benefits and uphold the law,” Dally added. “As my parents say, we can’t afford to go back to a system that stacks the deck against small businesses. We’ve got to move forward. By upholding the law, the Court will allow small business owners to focus on what they do best – things like fixing cars and creating jobs – and it will allow their children, like me, to pursue our dreams.”

Click here for audio of Helen sharing her story.
Click here for a printed copy of Helen’s remarks.


March 26: Auto Mechanics to Supreme Court: ACA Passes Inspection, NFIB Doesn't Speak for Us

Click here to view a formatted copy of this press release.

** SMALL BUSINESS MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR SUPREME COURT ORAL ARGUMENTS **

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2012
CONTACT: Rachel Tardiff, Rachel[at]Fitzgibbonmedia.com, 202-746-1507

AUTO MECHANICS TO SUPREME COURT: “THE ACA PASSES OUR INSPECTION – NFIB DOESN’T SPEAK FOR US”

Auto shop owners illustrate small business benefits of health law, presenting sharp counterpoint to NFIB plaintiff (also an auto shop owner) who closed her business and filed bankruptcy with unpaid medical bills

** Auto shop owners from Maine, Maryland, Oregon and Washington available for interviews **

 

Washington, DC – The owners of small auto repair shops from coast to coast have a message for the Supreme Court as it hears oral arguments, including a challenge from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), on the Affordable Care Act this week. The mechanics’ message: “The health care law passes our inspection with flying colors, so when NFIB argues against it, remember this: NFIB doesn’t speak for us.”

Auto shop owners from across the country can speak to concrete benefits they’re getting from the Affordable Care Act. Examples include the small business health care tax credit, reduced rates thanks to the 80/20 value for premiums rule, and health coverage from a pre-existing condition insurance plan.

In a blow to the NFIB’s case, recent reports broke the news that its lead plaintiff, an auto shop owner from Florida, was forced to close her business and file for bankruptcy last year with thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. Further complicating NFIB’s claim to represent non-partisan small business interests before the Court, a December op-ed in the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Karl Rove-connected Crossroads groups contributed $3.7 million to NFIB in 2010, the same year it joined the lawsuit against the ACA.

Auto shop owners available for interviews on the ACA, the Supreme Court, and NFIB include:

Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Oregon. Jim’s business is benefiting from the ACA’s small business health care tax credit. Jim said:

“We thought we were going to qualify for a credit of about $5,000. Well, we were in for a surprise. When we ran the final numbers, we received a credit of almost $13,000! This health care tax credit and the Affordable Care Act are like a time machine, rolling our health care costs back to what they were years ago.”

 

Brian England, owner of British American Auto Care in Columbia, Maryland. Brian saw his premiums go down for the first time in memory thanks to the ACA’s 80/20 value for premiums rule. Brian said:

“When we sat down with our agent, I was bracing myself for bad news. But when he gave us our quotes, my worry turned to disbelief. Our rates were going DOWN 6 percent! I almost fell off my chair. Our agent explained the rate cut was thanks to the medical loss ratio requirement in the Affordable Care Act. It’s a piece of the law that requires health insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on health care costs.

“As a small business owner, I’m committed to providing good value to our customers. It seems only fair that we should be able to expect the same from our health insurance companies.”

 

Laura Waite, owner of Jay’s Professional Automotive in Renton, Washington. Laura was denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, but she’s getting the care she needs and still doing what she loves thanks to the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. Laura said:

“When I got that rejection letter, the thought that kept going through my head was that we’d have to close our business and find jobs with health insurance. It was a devastating thought. Then I found out about the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. I signed up. I’ve since learned that my psoriasis has led to other conditions that need treatment. I’m getting the care I need, and my husband and I are still doing what we love.”

 

Don Orange, owner of Hoesly ECO Auto & Tire in Vancouver, Washington. Don is happy to see his state of Washington moving forward to implement a state insurance exchange for small businesses. Don said:

“We’ve got to keep moving forward on health care. This is no time to throw it into reverse. These insurance exchanges are going to give small businesses better choices and more bargaining power. I don’t want that taken away.

“For a long time, I couldn’t figure why a group like NFIB would want to put small business owners back in the nightmare scenario health care was for us before the new law. Then I heard about the millions of dollars they got from Karl Rove’s Crossroads groups. Is it the National Federation of Independent Business, or the National Federation of Karl Rove?”

 

David White, owner of MDI Imported Car Service in Bar Harbor, Maine. David has seen first-hand how rising costs crippled small businesses before health care reform. Back in the early 2000s, faced with a 50 percent hike in his health premiums, he had to do three things: increase employee cost-sharing, raise his prices, and lay off one person for six months. David said:

“Thanks to the payment reforms and the insurance exchanges of the Affordable Care Act, I have peace of mind knowing that I won’t lose my business or my employees because of mounting health care costs. My business, like the dollar and the economy as a whole, runs on confidence; and that’s what the ACA provides me.”

 

###

The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state-based small business coalitions. MSA creates opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies. www.mainstreetalliance.org

 


Auto Shop Owners Deliver Verdict on Health Law: "It Passes Our Inspection"

This week, the Affordable Care Act – the new health care law – goes before the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s a good time to ask: “Is the new law making a dent? Is it helping fix small businesses’ rough ride with health care?” We talked to a crew that knows a thing or two about dents and fixing rides: auto mechanics. These auto shop owners are seeing concrete benefits from the new law. They give the ACA a green light on inspection.

The fact sheet below includes stories and quotes from auto shop owners Jim Houser (Hawthorne Auto Clinic, Portland, Oregon), Brian England (British American Auto Care, Columbia, Maryland), Laura Waite (Jay's Professional Automotive, Renton, Washington), and David White (MDI Imported Car Service, Bar Harbor, Maine).

Read the fact sheet:
AUTO SHOP OWNERS DELIVER VERDICT ON HEALTH LAW: “IT PASSES INSPECTION”

 

 


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