Most observers expected the Affordable Care Act to effect a profound shift in the way many businesses approached building a workforce, thanks to requirements that created new costs for employers who retain full-time, benefits-eligible staff.
A year into its operation, Obamacare is doing just that.
According to USA Today, industries that typically rely on low-skilled, low-wage employees for their front-line staffing needs have hired more part-time employees and cut the number of full-timers, a tactic intended to point the part-timers toward the federal- and state-managed insurance marketplaces. Under Obamacare, businesses with 100 or more full-time employees (a number that drops to 50 in 2016) must provide most of those employees with health insurance — or pay the Obamacare penalty.
“A majority of small businesses say the Affordable Care Act already has hurt their profits, forcing them to reduce or postpone investment, withhold raises or trim other types of benefits, according to a new survey by the top small-business trade group,” reports USA Today.
“… Businesses with fewer than 100 employees also already have felt some impact from the health law, says a new survey by the National Federation of Independent Business [NFIB], a small-business trade group. Those that provide health insurance now must offer coverage for mental health and other services — unless they’re grandfathered under existing plans — boosting premiums, says Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB director of federal policy.”
NFIB surveyed 900 small businesses and found that 42 percent had seen increases of at least 10 percent in their health plan costs in 2014. Accordingly, 26 percent said they were planning either to free or reduce their employees’ pay.