PHILADELPHIA, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Being a small business owner has its own special challenges, and none more important than deciding which health plan to offer employees. The Blue Solutions® plans launched by Independence Blue Cross (IBC) last fall simplify that job by providing products that fit diverse needs and budgets, and include benefits required under the new health care reform law. With tax season in full swing, IBC is reminding small businesses about its online tax calculator, created by tax expert H&R Block, which helps companies determine if their plan qualifies for the new federal small business health care tax credit under the law.
"In today's tough economy, it's vital for small employers to maximize the productivity of their workers, and one way to do that is by looking after their health and well-being as best they can," said John Janney, senior vice president, Marketing Services for Independence Blue Cross. "For example, studies show that people who use the wellness programs and preventive services offered through health plans tend to be healthier, absent less often, and more productive than uninsured people who don't have access to these programs. And that saves employers money."
Janney added: "Business owners may be confused or nervous when it comes to buying health coverage. They also may not be aware that there are lots of affordable plans -- like the ones we're offering through Blue Solutions -- that provide the peace of mind employees need and the comprehensive benefits employers expect. We thought the calculator was a nice addition because it shows employers their approximate credit and how much they ultimately pay for insurance. That's very useful information to have when choosing a health plan."
How the tax calculator works
Under the law, businesses and small tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees that provide health insurance may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% of premiums paid (up to 25% for non-profits) to offset the cost of offering insurance. The tax calculator helps small business owners quickly estimate their tax credit in three easy steps. In a matter of minutes, the employer submits basic company information, wages paid, employees covered, and health care premiums. The calculator then determines if the business will qualify for a credit, and lists the cost of the insurance, credit for providing insurance, or any penalties the business would be assessed for not providing insurance.
What's included in Blue Solutions
Blue Solutions is IBC's new portfolio of affordable health plans developed exclusively for small employers. It offers packaged benefits, coverage for important services as doctor visits, hospital admissions, emergency room treatment, maternity care, lab tests, X-rays, prescriptions, and vision benefits. Blue Solutions also offers cash rewards for exercising regularly at a gym, quitting smoking, and losing weight. For more information, visit Blue Solutions.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.
SOURCE Independence Blue Cross