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Newark forum aims to answer small-business owners' questions on health care reform

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    Small-business owners with questions on how to comply with the Affordable Care Act can talk to federal officials tonight in Newark at a forum hosted by U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark).

    The session will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the 14th floor conference room at the Leroy Smith Public Safety Building, 60 Nelson Place. Alongside Payne will be Dennis Gonzalez, executive officer of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, which is creating the online marketplace where New Jersey small businesses and individuals will buy health insurance under the ACA.

    The marketplace is set to launch Oct. 1, when health insurance companies will start selling policies taking effect Jan. 1. That's when the ACA requires most Americans to either get covered or pay a penalty.

    Low- and moderate-income Americans will be entitled to federal subsidies that are expected to make coverage affordable for many of the uninsured, who now exceed 1 million people in New Jersey.

    Also participating in the forum will be Al Titone, New Jersey district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Teresa Coaxum, Region II advocate for the SBA.

    For small businesses that qualify, the ACA will provide a 50 percent tax credit in 2014 for the health insurance premiums they pay to cover their workers. Small businesses will have the option of continuing with the health insurance plans they now offer, buying coverage on the marketplace or encouraging employees to purchase their own policies on the marketplace.

    The ACA does not require businesses with fewer than 50 employees to offer health insurance, and the administration of President Barack Obama has postponed until 2015 the fines that the ACA imposes on businesses with more than 50 employees that don't offer health plans.

    Reporter Beth Fitzgerald is @BethFitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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    Beth Fitzgerald

    Beth Fitzgerald

    Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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