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Contact: Laura McElroy



Women Small Business Leaders Gather to talk Obamacare SHOP

Small Business Health Options Program projected to be a boon for

women-owned businesses and their employees


For photos, visit: http://bit.ly/16x3yg4

(August 21, 2013) Chicago IL – Women small business owners gathered this morning in Chicago to get the facts about the impact of Obamacare on their businesses, employees and families. Enrollment is set to open on October 1, and small business owners are set to finally get some relief when Obamacare goes into effect. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky keynoted the workshop, which also featured speakers from the Small Business Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Women’s Business Development Center, the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago and Women Employed sponsored the workshop.

Currently, women spend 48 percent more than men on health care, and often struggle to obtain coverage for themselves and their employees due to exorbitant costs and lack of coverage for basic health events like pregnancy.

Dorri McWhorter, chief executive officer of the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, spoke to the role that Obamacare will play in the further economic empowerment of women. “This legislation is for women,” McWhorter said. “When every woman has access to affordable health care for herself and her family, she is empowered to make transformational changes in her own life and in her community.”

The new law includes provisions that make it easier for small business owners to provide their employees with insurance. It prohibits insurance companies from discriminating based on gender or pre-existing conditions, which means lower costs for small business owners and their female employees. New state health insurance exchanges create a larger pool that allows its members to leverage greater purchasing power and take advantage of spreading risk across a larger population. The new simplified online system lowers administrative costs, so will in turn allow insurance companies to offer lower premiums. In addition, many small businesses will be eligible for tax credits in an effort to help offset the cost of health plans.

“For women business owners, these reforms are a game changer,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “It means that being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. The new law will enable many women to start businesses and become entrepreneurs, because they no longer have to stay locked in a job just to keep their health insurance.”

A new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Urban Institute and Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute found that that the Affordable Care Act is not only good for current businesses, it may actually help create new ones, a fact that was echoed by Emilia DiMenco, president and chief executive officer of the Women's Business Development Center. The new reforms are expected to produce a sharp increase in entrepreneurship next year—finally removing a major long-time barrier to starting a business in the United States by securing affordable health insurance on the individual market.

Brenda Delgado, MPH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services walked the audience through the process of enrollment that will launch October 1. “It’s a simple way to buy health insurance,” said Delgado. “The new online marketplace, SHOP, allows business owners to enter their information, easily compare plans side by side, and enroll— all in one place. The benefits include administrative simplification, transparency and increased purchasing power for small businesses.”

For more information about how your business may be impacted, visit www.Healthcare.gov.