Empire BlueCross BlueShield Helps Businesses Navigate Health Care Changes with Online Tools

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October 11, 2010 
Media Contacts: 
 
Sally Kweskin,
Empire BlueCross BlueShield
(720) 373-4836
sally.kweskin@empireblue.com
 
 
 
October 11 2010 – New York - In an effort to help minimize confusion regarding implementation of health care reform provisions among business owners, Empire BlueCross BlueShield has created two new tools to help business navigate the changes in health care, a grandfathering tool and a tax calculator tool.  
Both tools are available at www.empireblue.com/healthcarereform. The small business tax calculator tool and tax content were developed by The Tax Institute at H&R Block and also may be viewed by visiting www.thetaxinstitute.com
The interactive grandfathering tool is designed to help businesses better understand what grandfathering means, if they qualify for it, and what options are available to them with regard to their health plan. Empire has also joined forces with H&R Block to provide a convenient, comprehensive tool to help small business owners understand the financial impact, as well as the opportunities that accompany the changes in the health care system.  
“The grandfathering tool is another part of our commitment to help make health care reform work,” said Mark Wagar, President and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “This tool will allow business owners to understand what grandfathering is, qualification parameters, and if it is potentially in their best interests to grandfather their current health plan. This tool can help businesses quickly and easily determine a course of action based on their current plan in an easy to use and understandable tool.”  
Wagar added, “We are also extremely pleased to partner with H&R Block to make the small business tax calculator available, which can help small business owners understand the tax credits they are qualified for and allow them to better control and anticipate their health care costs. It’s Empire’s hope that this resource will allow owners to focus on running a successful business and add some clarity as they navigate the health care system.”  
The small business tax calculator can help users understand the following reform provisions:  

The small business health care premium credit for qualified employers with 25 or fewer employees and average annual wages under $50,000 (2010)

Requirements to provide employee coverage for full-time employees who work for businesses with 50 or more employees (2014)

Employer penalties for not providing coverage when at least one full-time employee is enrolled in a subsidized health care plan (2014)

The excise tax on high-cost health plans, which applies to plans that cost more than $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family (2018).

 
“I appreciate the value Empire provides to my clients and my firm with online tools like these, said Jeff Ungvary, VP, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. “In partnering with Empire my clients and I are better able to determine the impact of the recent Health Care Reform legislation on their business, and make strategic benefits decisions rather than knee-jerk reactions.”   

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