Blue Cross and Blue Shield is expanding its efforts to attract small businesses interested in tax credits tied to federal health overhaul.
The state's largest health insurer is running ads on TV and elsewhere about the new tax credits, and recently started an online calculator for small business owners.
Blue Cross plans across the country are hoping to stand out among other health insurers that also are competing to win new customers among businesses that previously didn't provide health coverage.
"Small businesses are heavily impacted by health care reform," said Blue Cross CEO Brad Wilson, in a prepared statement. "I hope all North Carolina small businesses will take advantage of these resources to ensure they receive the maximum benefits from this law."
The U.S. Treasury today issued new guidelines on the Affordable Care Act, in an attempt to clear up confusion created by the law passed earlier this year.
Starting this year, businesses that employ fewer than 25 workers, pay average annual wages of less than $50,000 and pay most of their employees' health coverage can claim a tax credit worth up to 35 percent of health expenses. That will increase to 50 percent in 2014.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the tax credit will save small businesses $40 billion by 2019.
Since Blue Cross started its online calculator in June, and expanded its advertising in October, it's gotten several hundred requests for quotes from small business owners, said spokeswoman Stephanie Skordas.
The website has a short survey with questions such as how many employees the business has and total annual wages. It also has a link to request a quote for Blue Cross' small group coverage.
Blue Cross has about 3.7 million members across North Carolina.