Small business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the US are facing impossible choices because of the skyrocketing costs of health insurance premiums, and, in many cases, the lack of access to coverage. Here are some of their stories.
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Downtown Home and Garden | Ann Arbor, Michigan
New Healthcare Law Helps Michigan
Small Business Owner Expand
New healthcare law helps Michigan small business owner expand
For Mark Hodesh, 2010 was a good year. His best ever, in fact.
Hodesh, who has owned Downtown Home and Garden on South Ashley Street in Ann Arbor for 13 years, saw his business blossom, was able to offer health insurance to his 12 full-time employees and even managed to grow by adding a person to his staff.
While business savvy undoubtedly contributed to his bustling shopâ€™s bottom line, it was healthcare reform that allowed him to hire another person. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law a year ago, contains a provision that allows employers to claim a tax credit for up to 35 percent of their insurance premiums in 2010. That means Hodesh, who pays 75 percent of his employees healthcare premiumsâ€”$60,000 a yearâ€”was able to claim $9,000 on his tax return this year. Knowing that money was coming back gave Hodesh, who had been on the fence about hiring another person, the confidence he needed to make his move.
His new employee has become a tremendous asset to the store and a big part of its success in 2010, Hodesh said.
"Our insurance rates were up 300 percent in 10 years. This is finally a chance to get some back and I put it into the business."
Hodesh said he views the tax credits as a form of grassroots economic stimulus, creating jobs that lead to more spending. His new employee was able to use her paycheck to buy a motorcycle, for instance.
â€śBefore coming to work for me, she was unemployed,â€ť he said. â€śNow she is paying taxes and contributing to bringing back our economy.â€ť