“Health Scare for Small Businesses” — WSJ Law Blog — Growing Trend — Stories in NYT, Economist, WaPo, CNN, Forbes, US News & World Report, The Hill, & More. Reviewed by Momizat on . Ahead of the new health-care law, small firms worry about crossing the crucial 50-person threshold — and about rising premium rates  Emily Maltby at the WSJ Law Ahead of the new health-care law, small firms worry about crossing the crucial 50-person threshold — and about rising premium rates  Emily Maltby at the WSJ Law Rating: 0
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“Health Scare for Small Businesses” — WSJ Law Blog — Growing Trend — Stories in NYT, Economist, WaPo, CNN, Forbes, US News & World Report, The Hill, & More.

Ahead of the new health-care law, small firms worry about crossing the crucial 50-person threshold — and about rising premium rates 

Emily Maltby at the WSJ Law blog reports on increasing concerns about the forthcoming healthcare laws among small business owners.  This seems to be a prominent issue and concern among small business owners, and has been noted in most every major media outlet in recent weeks, from the New York Times to Forbes, CNN, US News & World Report, FoxNews, The Economist, The Hill, the Washington Post, and more:

During her two-plus years in business, Elizabeth Turley has steadily recruited new employees for her apparel company, Meesh & Mia Corp., to keep pace with its rapid growth. But this year could be different. Instead of increasing her staff, she plans to hire independent contractors for tasks that can be outsourced, such as marketing and product development.

Her reason? Meesh & Mia is on the cusp of having 50 full-time employees. If the company hits that threshold, it will have to provide health coverage that meets government standards or potentially pay a penalty.

“We are poised this year to more than double or even triple business,” says the 58-year-old Ms. Turley, whose Idaho-based company makes “spiritwear,” or clothes with licensed college and football-team colors and logos. “And then this happened…. We have to find another way to get there.”

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Small Business Owners Are Increasingly Concerned About How They’ll Cope with Forthcoming Healthcare Laws

Small business healthcare concerns are being widely reported. On January 14th, QuickRead noted: 

 

Reed Abelson at the New York Times reported last week that health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. More:

These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.

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Dave Jones, the California insurance commissioner, said some insurance companies could raise rates as much as they did before the law was enacted.

On December 31, 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported on similar concerns:  Small Business Considers How to Manage Growth, Comply With Healthcare MandatesHealth Costs on His Mind, Small Factory Owner Looks for Ways to Cope With New Law

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Owner Carl Schanstra on the factory floor of Automation Systems

Sales at Automation Systems LLC, a parts-assembly factory in the Chicago suburbs, dropped 60% following the 2008 financial collapse. Owner Carl Schanstra was able to get the firm back on its feet by breaking into new markets, such as the auto industry. Sales are up 12% this year, and are likely to rise again next year, too.

But for the 34-year-old, the expected growth in sales brings a new concern. He is worried that as Automation Systems continues to expand, it will be subject to a provision in the health-care overhaul that could damage its bottom line.

That is because his plant, with sales of about $1.6 million for 2012, currently employs 40 full-time workers, mostly low-paid employees who monitor the factory equipment. If sales were to continue to rise, the plant could, conceivably, employ 50 full-time workers in 2014. Under the new health-care law, the Affordable Care Act, businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees will be required, starting in that year, to offer workers health insurance or potentially pay a penalty.

The expense, he says, would drive up the cost of his labor. So he doesn’t want to let employment at the factory reach that number. “I’ll be hammered for having more people at work,”

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Questions? Comments? Critiques?
Interested in contributing on an alternate topic?
Write editor Dave Dix.

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