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Washington Watch - June 26, 2013

Less Than 100 Days Until Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace

In a big push to get millions of Americans ready for open enrollment, was re-launched over the weekend, while chalk full of great information, the biggest variable remains unknown: premium costs.

The challenge is daunting for the federal government; they will manage 34 federally-facilitated state-based exchanges and partner with seven additional states in establishing co-managed exchanges. All in all, the federally facilitated exchanges will be responsible for insuring the vast majority of Americans, nearly 7 million by 2015.

Are you a small business interested in learning more? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will host a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) webinar on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 from 3:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. EST; register here!

Read the Washington Post’s, Sarah Kliff’s great (and scary) article on implementation concerns, Obamacare starts in 99 days. These 99 things need to happen before then.

NASE, SBE Council, and Fundable Launch $10K Crowdfunding Project #RYouFundable
Highlighting Crowdfunding as a Tool for America’s Smallest Businesses and Emerging Entrepreneurs

Last week, The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), the nation’s leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), an advocacy and research organization for entrepreneurs, partnered with Fundable, a crowdfunding platform partner focused exclusively on startup companies, to launch a contest helping startups and existing businesses fundraise to start or grow their company.

Crowdfunding is a new, proven (and sound) fundraising phenomenon that is coming on strong: it’s a collective effort of individuals and entities that pool their money through a variety of ways, usually through the Internet, to support a variety of businesses, non-profit causes, etc. Even celebrities are using it to raise money for their social endeavors. Our contest is focused on giving new and existing small business owners a jumpstart on getting their business off the ground.

Participants will use the Fundable platform to create their company fundraising page. After the application period, a review committee will select ten companies to participate in the fundraising contest. The finalist will be responsible for further enhancing their profile on Fundable and communicating their goals to their networks to garner support and funding for their businesses. The first company that is able to successfully reach their fundraising goal will win and additional $10,000 financial award provided by sponsors of the contest.

Our goal is to showcase how promising crowdfunding is as a method to raise capital for startups and growing small businesses – and help a few new or growing business owners out along the way! We hope that our contest will spotlight opportunities to raise capital, but also show how difficult it is for small businesses to get the funding they need to live their entrepreneurial life.

Do you have what it takes to open your own business? If so, enter our contest!

40 Hour Work Week Bill Introduced

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has long been passed by Congress, but the debate has not stopped. The debate has landed on the issue of the 30 hour work week. The ACA states companies who employ at least 50 workers at 30 hours a week must provide insurance for these workers. Senators Donnelly (R-IN) and Collins (R-ME) believe this will have an adverse effect on hourly workers. Companies will cut employee’s hours below the threshold, and they will suffer a loss of wages while still being uninsured.

In order to curb potential manipulation of hourly employees, the Senators introduced, S. 701, “Forty Hours is Full Time Act of 2013”, the bill would amend the threshold to 40 hours per week. In effect, companies would still cap employee’s hours but at a higher number allowing for higher compensation. This compensation, along with a subsidy, could be used in the exchange program to purchase an insurance plan.

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