Wednesday, September 1, 2010

GSU unveils small business tax credit calculator for health reform

Georgia State University researchers have unveiled a small business tax credit calculator to help employers crunch the numbers to see if they’re eligible for health reform credits under the new law.

The tool, called the 50-State Health Reform Calculator for Small Businesses, will help small employers, including non-profits, determine if they’re eligible for tax subsidies to cover part of the cost of health insurance starting this year. It is the first comprehensive nationwide calculator for all states. It can be accessed at www.gsu.edu/ghpc.

“We’re trying to provide information for employers about the impact and effects of health reform on their business decisions,” said Bill Custer, associate professor and director of the Institute of Health Administration in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

Small businesses, or employers with fewer than 25 full time employees making less than $50,000, may be eligible for tax credits to help cover the cost of insurance starting this year.

Incentives are being offered because as premiums have increased, the number of workers with employer-sponsored health coverage has declined.

Custer, with associate professor Patricia Ketsche, also of the Institute of Health Administration, developed the tool in collaboration with the Georgia Health Policy Center in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, the Florida Public Health Institute and the Center for Mississippi Health Policy.

The Georgia Health Policy Center has spearheaded a collaborative effort to break down the complexities of the nation’s health reform law through a series of policy briefs. The latest is “Health Reform Implications for Employers,” which was released last week (http://bit.ly/9u3z4q).

Other topics have included state and community implications and the impact to health care providers. Many states have come to the center to request a breakdown of health reform and its impact in their localities.

The calculator is the latest tool being offered in a series intended to help consumers, employers, providers and policy makers understand health reform.

“This has been a great opportunity to not only partner across Georgia State University, but with other states, to bring relevant information about health reform to those who will be impacted by the law,” said Karen Minyard, executive director of the Georgia Health Policy Center. “Our group’s goal from the beginning has been to interpret, share, and apply what is learned to real world situations.”

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