Businesses — particularly small businesses — over the next several years will face several changes in the way their employees get health care. The health care reform law includes new regulations governing employers’ responsibilities, new tax credits for employers and the possibility of new insurance options for employers.
Tax credits, expected to be a relatively quick boon to small businesses, have been largely offset in California by insurance rate hikes. Because of recent increases, some businesses face higher coverage costs now than before reform.
California’s health insurance exchange, in the formative stages now, is expected to offer new, more affordable options for small businesses, but not until 2014.
Long-range navigation in the new system will be challenging enough for small businesses in California, but the next two or three years may be particularly tricky — and important.
We asked small business experts and insurers:
- How can small businesses deal with new administrative burdens related to health care reform?
- What will the state’s new health insurance exchange need to deliver to make it a good thing for small businesses and their employees?
- What are the biggest benefits in the law? What is your greatest hope for long-term improvement?
- What are the biggest challenges? What is your biggest fear — either short term or long term?
We got responses from: