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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Old Town Bike Shop | Colorado Springs, Colorado
Bike shop owner hopes tax credits will
put money in employeesâ€™ pockets
Bike shop owner hopes tax credits will put money in employeesâ€™ pockets
John Crandall is hoping to put some money back into the pockets of his employees this year.
Heâ€™s offered his full-time workers health insurance for more than 10 years, thinking itâ€™s an important way to keep quality people at Old Town Bike Shop, which has been selling and repairing bicycles on South Tejon Street in Colorado Springs since 1976. A knowledgeable staff that can fix, tune and recommend a good bicycle is a competitive advantage in an era where consumers can buy an unassembled bike at a big-box store on the cheap, Crandall said.
"The challenge is to keep good people since they make so little money," said Crandall who added his employees have an average of 15 years experience in the industry.
This year, Crandall may be able to save his valued employees some of the money they spend on their health insurance. 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.
Five of Crandallâ€™s eight full-time employees take the health insurance Old Town Bike Shop offers. Crandall pays half of the premiumsâ€”$10,000 last yearâ€”and the employees cover the rest. Crandall hopes to qualify for $3,000 to $3,500 in tax credits this year. If he does, he will reinvest the money into lowering the premiumsâ€”half for the employeesâ€™ contributions and half for the businessâ€™s.
Thatâ€™s a nice change of pace for a business that is more used to finding ways to cover insurance rates that have climbed 10 percent every year, Crandall said.