[The following is excerpted from a USA Today article (7/13/12) by Rhonda Abrams, president of The Planning Shop and a publisher of books for entrepreneurs. Her column appears Fridays at USATODAY.com.   

Love it or hate it, the Supreme Court has now upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— what detractors refer to as Obamacare.

Let’s forget politics for a moment, assume it will be put in place in its current form for the most part, and figure out what it means for small businesses like yours.

SNAPSHOT: Major provisions of the Affordable Care Act affecting small business:

  • Businesses with fewer than 25 employees: Receive tax credits of 35% to 50% of the cost of health insurance premiums if salaries average $50,000 or less.
  • Companies with more than 50 full-time employees or the equivalent: Must provide health insurance for workers or pay a fine if even one worker qualifies for a tax credit for purchasing health insurance. Penalty is $2,000 per employee, minus the first 30 employees.
  • Small Business Health Options Programs: State health insurance exchange marketplaces will have packages for small businesses. A federal exchange will be available if a state does not establish its own.
  • Self-employed and uncovered individuals: Will be required to carry health insurance or pay a fine. The penalty is as little as $95 per adult in the first year, climbing to $695 in 2016, or a percentage of income.

For my small business, I pay far more than big businesses for worse coverage, and I know many self-employed individuals who can’t get insurance at all.

Whether the health care act will improve this depends, in large part, on how well the state and federal health insurance exchanges work.

For that, we’ll have to wait until 2014.

Click here to read the entire article, including some examples of how the Health Care Act will impact individual small businesses.