It’s crunch time for thousands of small business owners who must comply with requirements of the health care law for the first time.
Companies with 50 to 99 full-time employees must offer affordable insurance to employees and their dependents starting Jan. 1. They must also file tax forms with the government by Jan. 31 detailing the cost of their coverage and the names and Social Security numbers of employees and their dependents. While companies of all sizes are subject to the law must file the forms, smaller businesses without big staffs to handle the paperwork may have to hire someone to do it — at a cost of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The catastrophic failure of Obamacare’s launch is now far in the past. But the public’s acquiescence to a law that keeps creating new problems should not be taken as a sign of enthusiastic acceptance, much less as a sign that Obamacare is working.
The important thing is how each of Obamacare’s current problems — skyrocketing premiums, lower than expected enrollment, and the collapse of several cooperative plans — is related to the others.
A school district in Tennessee is shutting classroom doors because of the added costs of Obamacare. Jerry Strong, the Clay County Director of Schools, told the Associated Press, “the Affordable Care Act… has made it very difficult for us to have our employees properly covered and meet the mandates of the law.” The school district was already struggling with their budget, “struggling with budget concerns for three years.”
Nine out of 10 large companies are working to avoid Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac Tax on health insurance plans if lawmakers fail to reform the law, according to a new study.
The American Health Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, found that nearly every major employer in the country is taking steps to avoid the tax, which targets comprehensive health plans deemed to be luxurious by regulators. The law will hike taxes by $68 billion for American workers.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in 2018, an excise tax on high-value employer provided health plans, the so-called “Cadillac tax,” takes effect. Even before 2018, though, the excise tax is already driving many employers to fundamentally reassess their health care plans. While the tax was intended to reduce health care spending, its impact in the real world is being felt by workers who are seeing the value of their health care plans reduced.
By liberal and media acclamation, ObamaCare is a glorious success, the political opposition is fading and the entitlement state has gained another permanent annex. The reality, for anyone who cares to look, is different and suggests that ObamaCare is far more vulnerable than this conventional wisdom.
In apparent recognition of the distinct unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act’s Cadillac tax—an excise tax on high-value, employer-provided health benefits—more than 100 economists have signed a letter defending it. As the Washington Post headline about the letter read: “101 Economists Just Signed a Love Letter to the Obamacare Provision Everyone Else Hates.”
The Affordable Care Act does not require businesses to provide health benefits to their workers, but applicable large employers may face penalties if they don’t make affordable coverage available. The Employer Shared Responsibility Provision of the Affordable Care Act penalizes employers who either do not offer coverage or do not offer coverage which meets minimum value and affordability standards. In 2016, these penalties will apply to firms with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees. This flowchart illustrates how those employer responsibilities work.
On Tuesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual survey of employer-sponsored health plans. The number that will probably attract the most attention relates to the premiums attached to employer plans — an important figure, since rising premiums eat up money that could otherwise go toward pay increases. The survey shows that 2015 premiums for family coverage were 4.2 percent higher than in 2014, a rise slightly greater than those of the past couple years.
More than two years away from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac” tax, 16 percent of large employers offering health benefits have changed their benefit plans or moved to less expensive plans to avoid going over the limits set by the law, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report released Tuesday.