Survey Finds Effects of ACA Are Top Concern for Small Businesses
The Affordable Care Act and its potential effect on employee coverage costs and hiring trends has overtaken the general uncertainty about the U.S. economy as the top concern among a vast majority of U.S. small businesses, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's latest small-business survey, The Hill's "On The Money" reports (Needham, "On The Money," The Hill, 4/4).
The quarterly survey -- which was conducted from March 14 to March 16 by Harris Interactive -- included responses from 1,332 small business executives, who oversee businesses with up to 500 workers and generate a maximum of $25 million in annual revenue (Howell, "Inside Politics," Washington Times, 4/4).
Beginning in 2014, the ACA requires businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to offer a minimum level of affordable health coverage or pay a penalty, which starts at $2,000 for each full-time employee after the first 30. If a company offers employee health insurance but the coverage falls short of the minimum level or is unaffordable, the company will be required to pay a penalty of $3,000 for every worker who receives a federal subsidy to purchase health coverage on the individual.
The Chamber of Commerce survey found that:
- 77% of respondents said the ACA would raise their costs to provide employee coverage;
- 71% said they would face a more difficult time with hiring employees because of the ACA; and
- About one-third said they plan to cut back their workers' hours as a way to reduce the number of full-time employees on staff ("On The Money," The Hill, 4/4).
In addition, 27% of respondents said they plan to stop offering health benefits to employees ("Inside Politics," Washington Times, 4/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.