According to the state’s website, the goal of health care reform in Massachusetts is to make quality, affordable health care available to every resident.

The law now places certain responsibilities on employers to ensure that health insurance is accessible to as many individuals as possible.

Businesses are affected in many unique ways according to their size. Generally speaking, businesses with fewer than 11 full-time equivalent employees are exempt from most requirements of the law. However, their employees who live in Massachusetts are still required to have health insurance.

Small employers who wish to contribute toward their employees’ group health coverage can purchase health insurance through the Health Connector, or they can purchase through existing channels.

Businesses with 11 or more full-time equivalent employees must offer Section 125 plans to enable their employees, including employees who may not be eligible for the employer’s group health plan, to purchase health insurance on a pre-tax basis.

Those who do not may be required to pay a surcharge if their employees (or dependents of their employees) make significant use of the state’s Health Safety Net, formerly the Uncompensated Care Pool. This is called the Free Rider Surcharge.

If you’re a business owner with questions regarding health care reform as it relates to your business and its taxes, it is important that you discuss the ramifications of health care reform with an experienced business taxation legal professional. You may have several options that you did not realize were available to you.