The Arkansas Insurance Department and the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center are teaming up to educate small business owners about new health insurance options and requirements for small businesses.

For example, the new Small Business Health Options Program, or "SHOP," is designed to help level the playing field for small employers so that the premiums small businesses pay for employee insurance are closer to those paid by large employers.

"The Arkansas Insurance Department is excited about working with [the center] and believes the partnership will be effective in informing Arkansas small businesses about new health insurance opportunities," said Cynthia Crone, AID deputy commissioner.

The UALR-based center will lead 56 training events around the state for small business owners and employees, starting Sept. 18 in Little Rock. There is no charge to attend. Entitled "Informed Businesses: Navigating the Affordable Care Act," the sessions will discuss key provisions of the federal health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, and the new Health Insurance Marketplace opening Oct. 1.

The training will also cover:

• The Arkansas Health Connector website

• SHOP, the Small Business Health Options Program

• Compliance and notification requirements that begin Oct. 1 for employers

• New tax reporting requirements for employers

• Available tax credits, potential rebates and premium reduction programs

The Little Rock event starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and should go for two hours. It will be held at UALR’s Reynolds Business Center. Pre-registration is required, as space is limited.

For more information, call 683-7700 or