majority of small businesses either incorrectly believe or are not sure whether
they must provide health insurance to employees in 2014, according to the Fall 2012 Small-Employer Benefits Survey released by eHealth (the parent company of eHealthInsurance). Results
show many small employers still hold misconceptions about their obligations
under health care reform, and few are making any long-term plans based on their
expectations of how the reform might impact their businesses.
in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requires
businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance
coverage for their workers. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees, however, are
exempt from this requirement, although employees may be required to purchase
their own coverage.
on their size, only two of the businesses surveyed would be required by the PPACA
to offer health insurance coverage to employees in 2014. But one-third (34%)
incorrectly believed they would be required to buy insurance for employees in
2014, while 35% were unsure. Nearly 70% either
incorrectly believed or were not sure whether they would be required to pay a
tax for not providing health insurance in 2014. Only 31% of respondents
correctly said that reform law does not require them to pay a tax if they do
not offer insurance.
part of the PPACA that does not factor in employers' strategies is health
insurance exchanges. A majority of small-business owners (78%) said they were unfamiliar
with them and how the exchanges could impact their businesses. Government-run
exchanges, which are slated to come online by 2014, would make subsidized
health insurance available to individuals who do not have access to health
insurance through an employer.
survey also explored employers' willingness to adopt new cost-saving
strategies, as well as their attitudes for imposing penalties related to
employees' participation in wellness programs. To reduce costs, more than half
(51%) said they would increase employees' share of premiums. Nearly 40% would
consider increasing employees' deductibles. Nearly half the employers surveyed
(44%) felt it would be fair to impose penalties on employees who do not participate
in wellness programs.