County of Sonoma California

For Businesses

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Affordable Care Act for Employers

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New Responsibilities & Opportunities

Click on the image for a quick snapshot of what you need to know

What’s Your Responsibility?

Follow the links below for more detailed information:

  • Pay or play for businesses. Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees will be required by January 1, 2015 (recently changed from January 1, 2014) to provide coverage to their employees or pay a penalty. Learn more.
  • Pay or play for individuals. Beginning January 1, 2014 nearly all individuals will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Individuals can purchase insurance through Covered California
  • Small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalents can buy insurance for employees through Covered California SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program).
  • Small businesses with 25 or fewer full-time equivalents whose average annual wages don’t exceed $50,000 may be eligible for a tax credit when they provide insurance coverage for employees. Want to know if you qualify? Go here.
  • By October 1, 2013 all employers must notify employees in writing of the existence of Covered California. For background on this notice go here. Here are sample notices for employers that do and do not offer coverage.

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For Small Businesses

What are your responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act? What opportunities does it present to you as a small employer? What are "marketplaces" anyway? The links below will help you get started in answering these questions.

7 Key Terms in the Affordable Care Act that Small Businesses Should Know
A quick, one-page description from the U.S. Small Business Administration of the following terms:

  1. Affordable Insurance Exchanges
  2. Employer Shared Responsibility
  3. Essential Health Benefits
  4. Individual Shared Responsibility
  5. Premium Tax Credits
  6. Small Business Health Care Tax Credits
  7. Wellness Programs (as defined in the Affordable Care Act)

Which Previsions of the Affordable Care Act Will Affect Your Business or Organization?
Read this overview from the U.S. Small Business Administration or go directly to the page that relates to you:

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FAQs: Small Businesses & the New State Healthcare Marketplace

Want to know about how the new state healthcare marketplace affects you? Need answers to the following questions? Click here

  • Do I have to get insurance for my employees?
  • What happens if I do not cover my employees?
  • Is my business eligible for tax credits?
  • How much is the tax credit?
  • If I decide to cover my employees, how does Covered California help me?
  • Can my employees choose any health plan offered by Covered California?
  • How much would my employees pay?
  • How much will health insurance cost me as a business owner?
  • Who handles all the complicated insurance details?
  • When does the program begin?
  • What if I have more than 50 employees?
  • What if my employees want their families covered too?
  • Can my insurance agent purchase coverage for me from Covered California?
  • Can I purchase insurance from Covered California if I am self-employed?

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Essential Websites You Need to Visit

As the Affordable Care Act kicks into gear it is important that you and your employees stay informed. Here are the key places to get information and buy health coverage through the state healthcare exchange, Covered California.

Covered California
The state Affordable Insurance Marketplace, Covered California help small businesses and individuals shop for and purchase affordable health plans. It reviews and selects affordable, quality plans that reflect a mix of large nonprofit and commercial plans and offers tools and guidance for walking individual and businesses through the process of selection and purchasing.

Covered California SHOP
SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) is the name of the insurance marketplace for small businesses. For plans and premiums go here.

Health Law Guide for Business, Get the Facts: Health Care Reform & Your Business
Established through a partnership with businesses and the California Endowment, this website provides clear, easy- to-find and up-to-the minute information about health care reform and California business.

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Local Resources

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Community Clinics in Sonoma County
Enrollment assistance is available at community clinics.

Dental Access: How to Access Dental Care with Limited Income

Dental Discount Program (PDF)
Sonoma County has joined with NACo, the National Association of Counties in partnership with Careington International Corporation to bring the NACo dental discount program to our community.

Department of Health Services

Human Services Economic Assistance Division
If your income is low or if you are uninsured, we may be able to help you get medical, dental, emergency services, and medication through Medi-Cal or the County Medical Services Program. (707) 565-2715.

Legal Aid of Sonoma County

Meaningful Use: Public Health Reporting
Explanation of how Sonoma County Eligible Professionals (EP) and Eligible Hospitals (EH) and Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) may meet their Public Health Reporting, meaningful use objectives.

MyBenefits CalWIN
This website is a fast and easy way for California residents to learn about and apply for medical, food, and cash assistance programs.

Prescription Drug Discount Program
Sonoma County has joined with NACo, the National Association of Counties to bring the NACo prescription drug discount program to our community.

Sonoma County Community Resource Directory
Sonoma County Community Resource Directory
Sonoma County 2-1-1 is staffed by volunteers who provide the link between people who have needs with the services that can alleviate those needs. Just dial 211, or search for services at their website.

Health Law Guide for Business

The Health Care Reform Law at a Glance
Established through a partnership with businesses and the California Endowment, this website provides clear, easy- to-find and up-to-the minute information about health care reform and California business.

Covered California Health Insurance Plan Options in Sonoma County

Business Marketplace

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
Blue Shield
Kaiser Permanente
Western Health Advantage

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
Health Net

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