Obamacare and Your Small Business

(Guest blog post regarding Obamacare and commercial issues, based on US law) It seems as though there is nothing opponents of President Barack Obama’s health care reform can do. As 2012 ends, many are reminded that the health care mandate takes effect in 2014. 2013 is sure to be filled with annoying ads and much dishonesty as Health Insurance Companies start to bombard businesses and individual hoping to gain policy holders.

How will this affect your business?
An aspect that many have not taken into consideration has been the lack of insurance held by most business owners presently. In a recent study carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation, small business owners were polled for their insurance provider. A staggering twenty-five per cent of business owners went uninsured. As the mandate takes effect in 2014, small business owners will be forced not only to provide insurance options for their employees but will also need to acquire coverage themselves. According to Business Week, tax credits, which began in tax year 2010, will be given to employers that provide health insurance for their employees up to thirty-five per cent; in 2014 that percentage rises to fifty per cent. W-2 forms that businesses provide to employees in January 2013 will contain a line that shows the health care benefits received from employer-sponsored health care. This could ultimately drive up the cost for producing these forms.

Industry Tax
In the case of the health care industry as a whole, a devastating medical device tax will be implemented. According to a report by Bob Salsberg claims the tax could cost upwards of 43,000 jobs across the country. Senate Republicans and a surprising amount of Democrats have come together in hopes of repealing the tax portion of the law for the medical community and at the very least they hope to delay the tax. President Obama commented on the outcry from medical device manufactures stating it was not out of the question for industries that are going to benefit from the health care law to pay extra taxes to bring the change about.

The Ugly Truth (Preparation)
While it is unfortunate many employers are preparing for the massive overhaul of health care by limiting the hours their employees will work. This will allow businesses to keep cost lower because they will not have to provide health coverage to those employees. Others are seeking answers from their state health care exchanges which are being introduced in an attempt to lower the cost by introducing competition. These exchanges however are not the answer for employers with more than fifty employees. Employers who force employees to use the exchange instead of providing will need to pay a $2,000 dollar fine for each employee. The first thirty employees are exempted from this fee for the employer.

The Affordable Healthcare Act is changing the way American way of life. Like so many massive overhauls of policies before, this is sure to provide frustration and anger as many have to adjust to this new way of life. The Administration is still “fine-tuning” some parts of the law which is added to more confusion; as the deadline approaches business are unable to find the information necessary to provide health care in accordance with the law. It is likely no one will know how the law will in entirety until after it has been implemented.

This article was composed by Ty Witherspoon, a freelancer based in the Seattle area; this piece was written for Washington DC Business Lawyer.

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