How Health Coaches in the United States Can Benefit from the CARES Act
Nina Zorfass, IIN Content Editor
What is the U.S. CARES Act?
The bill, passed by the U.S. Senate, is worth $2 trillion in aid and is “meant to keep businesses and individuals afloat during an unprecedented freeze on the majority of American life.” This bill aims to help the following sectors:
- Big businesses
- Hospitals and public health
- Federal safety net (food security programs)
- State and local governments
- Education (college students and graduates)
- Small businesses
This bill is the third of a set of three bills aimed at supporting the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first provides funding for government agencies to both prevent the spread of the virus as well as treat the virus, including funding for equipment, staff, testing kits, and grants.
The second is the Families First Relief Response Act, providing funding for free testing and paid time off for workers if they or their families have been impacted by COVID-19. This funding includes money for Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers to provide free testing; additional money for states to provide unemployment insurance; modified sick leave depending on company size; up to two weeks of sick pay eligible for tax credit as well as 12 weeks of family leave pay at two-thirds the normal rate for gig workers; and up to three months of paid leave for workers who must take care of a child whose school or childcare facility was closed due to COVID-19.
What does the CARES Act facilitate?
The CARES Act facilitates benefits, payments, loans, and other forms of relief to each of the above-listed sectors.
For small businesses:
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are now eligible for emergency grants and a forgivable loan program, which would go toward covering operating costs, maintaining payroll, keeping employees on the books, paying rent, and forgiving existing debt. For businesses that have already received loans, six months of payments will be covered.
Individuals such as gig workers, freelancers, and contractors who normally wouldn’t be eligible for unemployment benefits can now receive payments through the end of 2020. In addition to broadening eligibility for receiving unemployment benefits, the amount of such benefits will be boosted for four months. One of the most important aspects of this part of the bill is that all COVID-19 treatments and testing is 100% covered under insurance.
For big businesses:
Unlike small businesses, big businesses, such as airlines, will be subject to paying back the money they receive. Airlines will receive money to cover employee wages, salaries, and benefits. Any business that receives a loan will need to publicly disclose it, and tax credits will be issued for such businesses that use this relief to pay their employees while their businesses were closed.
For hospitals and public health:
Both hospitals and community health centers will receive emergency funding to meet the needs associated with an influx of patients. Supporting the increase of availability of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, as well as veteran’s health care and funding for telehealth programs, are also major components of this bill.
For food security programs:
This bill provides funding for schools to continue to provide children with free meals, which was a major concern at the start of this pandemic when schools were closing. The Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive funding to cover the cost of new applications for assistance. Food banks will also receive support to ensure that food availability remains intact.
For state and local governments:
The bill designates certain amounts of aid to be allocated toward COVID-19 response efforts, K–12 schools, higher education institutions, and child care centers that need to remain open to support healthcare workers on the front line.
For college students and graduates:
Temporary student federal loan relief with no penalty is extended to eligible students and graduates. Work-study programs can continue to pay their students while school is suspended with unused work-study funds, and students who have been forced to drop out will not be penalized or asked to pay back any federal aid or grants they may have received.
Health coaching practices can be considered small businesses – what that means.
If you’re a Health Coach who was in business on or prior to February 15, 2020, you could be eligible for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, in addition to the unemployment benefits described above. There are criteria you must meet in order to qualify for a loan, so be sure to check out the Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act to get more information on how your small business needs can be met during this difficult time.
The loans provided by the Paycheck Protection Program can be used toward payroll, including benefits; interest or mortgage obligations; rent under agreements prior to February 15; and utilities for which service began prior to February 15.
In addition to potentially being eligible for a loan, some Health Coaches may also be eligible to receive a $1,200 stimulus check from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To receive a stimulus check, there are also criteria to meet: (1) adults making a gross income of less than $75,000, (2) married couples without children whose combined income is less than $150,000 annually; or (3) taxpayers who filed as “head of household” if income is less than $112,500. For more information and answers to some frequently asked questions, check out this article.
While the loan provided by the Paycheck Protection Program has to be used toward business-related expenses, the stimulus check has no formal usage requirements. Ellevest, an investment adviser fiduciary that curates personalized investment portfolios for women, shares advice on Instagram for how to use your stimulus check depending on your current financial situation.
Why health coaching has always been the career of the future.
There’s likely never been a tougher time to navigate being a business owner, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses that never had to think about going digital.
The beauty of health coaching is that while it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to be in person, the support provided is just as effective when done virtually, especially if on video so you can read facial expressions, sit supportively through silence, and use each other’s energy to guide the coaching session.
Health Coaches have been coaching clients virtually for years. In fact, many Health Coaches never see clients in person, broadening their reach to be able to coach clients to great health wherever they are in the world! It also allows Health Coaches to make their own work schedules and keep flexible hours that can continue at home or when traveling.
In these uncertain times, Health Coaches in our community have continued to work and provide incredible support to their clients and beyond. If you’ve been wondering how to make a health coaching business work for you, this is the time. You’ll get all the support you need to bring your presence online and start helping others protect their health long-term.