More small businesses will have to adopt Affordable Care Act changes in 2016, and business analysts predict that will lead to higher insurance premiums. Currently, Obamacare requires small-group healthcare markets to cover essential benefits similar to what is available in the individual market. Examples include capping enrollees’ out-of-pocket costs and covering people despite pre-existing medical conditions.
Presently, these provisions impact businesses with 50 or fewer employees, but that changes in 2016, when entities with 51-100 workers will be forced to buy in, too. The change in the definition of a small group would differ from the employer mandate, which calls on companies with 51 or more employees to provide health insurance for their employees.
According to an analysis supported by the BlueCross BlueShield Foundation, a charity arm of insurance company Anthem, approximately 64 percent of members in groups with 51-100 employees will face a premium increase in 2016. The average uptick in costs will be around 18 percent.
In an attempt to avert these price increases, two U.S. Senators introduced legislation this past April that would allow states to determine if the definition of a small business should expand to include those with 51-100 employees. A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives is also pending.
Meanwhile, there is a great deal of consternation towards Obamacare among the general public. According to the results of a Gallup poll released earlier this year, 50 percent of people surveyed said they disapprove of the act while 44 percent said they support it.
The medical community isn’t embracing the ACA, either. In a survey released in the fall of 2015 by The Physicians Foundation, 20,000 physicians responded by email to an array of questions regarding the act. Of the respondents, 46 percent gave Obamacare a D or F grade, while 25 percent gave it an A or B grade.
There is so much a small business owner needs to know about the ACA and how to conform to its ever-changing promulgations. The best advice is to discuss the matter with a financial planner, insurance representative or even a tax preparer. Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer.