Some Small Businesses Prefer Healthcare Penalty Box

Employment / Personal Injury / Business

With the uncertainty surrounding the impact of the new healthcare law, many small businesses including clients of mine I have spoken to believe the sidelines may be safer than the playing field.  In a Wall Street Journal article by Emily Maltby and Sarah E. Needleman, they write:

Small-business owners across the U.S. are bracing for the health-care law that kicks in next year, fearing it will increase the cost of providing insurance to employees.

But Rick Levi, a business owner in Des Moines, Iowa, is among those considering the government’s escape hatch: paying a penalty to avoid the law’s “employer mandate.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time workers will be required to provide coverage for employees who work an average of 30 or more hours a week in a given month. An alternative to that mandate is for business owners to pay a $2,000 penalty for each full-time worker over a 30-employee threshold.

Mr. Levi currently spends about $140,000 a year on insurance premiums to cover 25 managerial staff at his business, Consolidated Management, which runs cafeterias at schools, offices and jails.

Therefore, if you are a waiter or waitress – or some other type of hourly employee – that is why you may have seen your hours cut recently. It has nothing to do with your performance (hopefully) and everything to do with the new healthcare law and the increasing costs that your employer would be subject to if they didn’t cut your hours.

There are other avenues to help businesses as well – and many are taking them. Maltby and Needleman continue:

To avoid the employer mandate, some small firms are considering other strategies, such as increasing employees’ share of the premiums, so they don’t have to shoulder the entire cost of offering benefits. Others say they will stay under the 50 full-time employee threshold or deliberately turn full-time workers into part-timers. Average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2012 were $5,615 for single coverage and $15,745 for family coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Have you experienced anything like this at your workplace? What is your employer telling you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

If you have a legal matter, please call our Yardley office at 215-493-8287 or send us an email HERE. We will be glad to help.

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