How does and will osamacare effect small businesses?
Country relating to Question: United States
Is this a school project or assignment?
I'm well past school age. I only asked for my own edification.
This is from what I gather from various readings - it's obviously a hotly debated issue and there are many pros and cons to the legislation:
If you employ 50 or more, you will face a major choice. Businesses with 50 or more employees will have a choice beginning in 2014: they can sponsor a health plan for 100% of their workers (even those signed up for government-subsidized health insurance) or pay $750 per worker in penalties to the federal government.
A business might opt to take the penalty and do away with health insurance. Paying the annual penalty might be cheaper. So that would leave the employees uninsured, and they would have to go to state health plan exchanges to buy health coverage that could be more expensive.
Some analysts warn that another macroeconomic effect might result – years of high unemployment. They think that increased insurance costs will discourage business hiring in the next decade.
The new reforms don’t put any caps on health insurance premiums. Insurers have every reason to hike rates before the new insurance markets come around in 2014 with added competition.
If you employ 25-49 people, you won’t face this choice. The government won’t require companies with fewer than 50 employees to offer health insurance starting in 2014, and therefore these companies won’t have to contend with possible fines like their big brothers. But while firms with 50 or fewer workers would be exempt from coverage provisions, they will still have to contend with rising premiums.
A major tax credit for smaller firms and solopreneurs. If you employ less than 25 or are self-employed, you may find that the health care reforms bring you tax relief.
Beginning in 2010, companies with less than 25 employees that pay the majority of health care premiums for their workers qualify for a tax credit up to 35% of their premiums. (In 2014, that credit could be as great as 50% of premiums if you arrange insurance via one of the Small Business Health Options Programs, or SHOP Exchanges). The tax break you get will depend on a couple of variables: the number of employees you have and their average salary.
However, this tax break won’t be offered to sole proprietorship’s. That factor may encourage you to incorporate or become an LLC.
If you own a smaller company, insurance might become cheaper. The idea is that small businesses can pool together in the SHOP Exchanges and negotiate insurance coverage as a group. Greater buying power implies lower premium costs (in theory).
Businesses with 100 or fewer workers can jump into a state SHOP Exchange pool starting in 2014; states may choose to limit the pools to firms with 50 or fewer employees through 2016.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the SHOP Exchanges would lower annual premiums for these businesses by 1-4% with a 3% increase in the amount of coverage. That could mean a savings of more than $10 billion nationally.
If you work for yourself, you will likely be able to take advantage of government health care subsidies in 2014. If you are self-employed in 2014 and earn less than four times the poverty level, you can qualify for these subsidies. (To give you some idea, in 2010 400% of the poverty level comes to $88,200 for a family of four.)
Some notes for 2011. In 2011 as a result of the new law, a business will have to report the value of an employee’s health care coverage on W-2 forms. Many companies provide coverage for employee dependents not enrolled in other employer-based health plans up to age 22 or 23; next year, that age limit will rise to 26. All lifetime caps on insurance policies offered through employer-sponsored plans will be eliminated in 2011. Penalties will increase for the misuse of HSA funds, and workers with FSAs and HSAs will not be reimbursed for money used for over-the-counter drug purchases.
20 years legal practitioner: real estate, collections, estate, civil, business, and criminal law
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).