Obamacare Will Force Higher Premiums On Majority Of Small-Business Employees
February 26, 2014 by Ben Bullard
Another day, another government report that asks Americans to lower their expectations for Obamacare even further (if that’s possible). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a sub-agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, said late last week that Obamacare will increase health insurance premiums for about 11 million Americans employed by small businesses.
The CMS report — which the Administration of Barack Obama managed to delay well beyond its post-sequestration due date — notes that changes to the Public Health Service Act brought about by Obamacare will adversely affect some 11 million small-business employees, while reducing insurance premiums for 6 million. For the majority whose premiums will go up, their employers will also have to decide whether to absorb a proportion of the increased cost.
“There is considerable uncertainty as to whether small employers will decide to terminate their existing offer of health insurance coverage and send their employees to individual market Exchanges,” the report acknowledged.
CMS said its forecast numbers represent a best guess, but it nevertheless projected that those who will see premiums increase will outnumber those who see a decrease by a 65 percent to 35 percent margin:
Once the new premium rating requirements go into effect, it is anticipated that the small employers that offer health insurance coverage to their employees and their families would have average premium rates. Therefore, we are estimating that 65 percent of the small firms are expected to experience increases in their premium rates while the remaining 35 percent are anticipated to have rate reductions. The individuals and families that receive health insurance coverage from their small employer generally contribute a portion of the premium. For this analysis, if the employer premium increases, it is assumed that the employee contribution will rise as well. Similarly, if the employer premium is reduced, the employee contribution is assumed to decrease. This results in roughly 11 million individuals whose premiums are estimated to be higher as a result of the ACA and about 6 million individuals who are estimated to have lower premiums.
The Daily Caller observed Monday that many of the small businesses whose owners will be faced with hard decisions about their healthcare offerings were supposedly reprieved from forced insurance changes this year by the Obama Administration’s unilateral decision to delay portions of the law’s employer mandate.
“The small businesses which CMS fears may begin cutting coverage altogether aren’t subject to the employer mandate requirement. After the latest Obamacare delay, even medium-sized businesses between 50 and 99 employees will have until 2016 to comply with the requirement to provide employees coverage, opening the possibility of more companies laying off employees so they can cut out increasingly expensive insurance coverage altogether,” wrote the DC’s Sarah Hurtubise.
In other words, the qualifying pool of Obamacare-eligible Americans is on track to grow larger, as small companies force their employees off of employer-backed insurance; while the pool of well-funded customers whose forced overpayments are supposed to subsidize the entire program will continue to shrivel.