Wednesday, August 18, 2010
New Health Care Bill Befuddles Micro Business Owners
When it comes to the health bill, small business owners are wondering if they should take two aspirin – but who the heck to call in the morning?
Micro-businesses, which have fewer than 10 employees, are confused whether their health plans meet certain requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.
The bill offers entrepreneurs the choice to keep the plan they currently provide – if it meets certain requirements – but most entrepreneurs are uncertain how their plan will meet these new rules and if their monthly premiums will be affected, according to a survey by the National Association for the Self-Employed. Some study highlights:
· 65 percent of micro-businesses say they only somewhat or slightly understand the new "grandfathered" plan requirements and how it may impact their ability to keep their plans.
· Of those aware of the requirements to maintain "grandfathered" status of a health plan, 43 percent believe they can keep their plan. Fifty-seven percent were either unsure or knew that they would not be unable to keep their current plan.
· 92 percent believe the self-employed and small business owners should receive a notice from their insurer or from the federal government about whether their plan qualifies as a “grandfathered” plan
With close to 50 percent of micro-business respondents wishing to keep their current coverage, a clear understanding of the “grandfathered” status regulations will be essential to a small-business owner’s ability to maintain their existing coverage, says NASE.
“The self-employed and micro-businesses are always looking at how to get the best deal and health coverage is no exception,” said Kristie Arslan, executive director of NASE’s legislative offices. “Our concern with the current 'grandfathered' status regulations is that it leaves business owners with little wiggle room to make key adjustments to their existing health plan to maintain its affordability for the business owner and employees. Ultimately, micro-businesses will be forced to drop their plan they were hoping to keep and be pushed into the new insurance market which is likely to offer more robust, but also more expensive health plans.”
NASE’s survey found that approximately 67 percent of respondents have changed insurance carriers since the inception of their business, with 55 percent indicating that the primary driver for the change corresponded with the desire to find a better deal or lower costs. Many who made adjustments to their existing health plan to address costs did so by adjusting their deductibles – a move that, under proposed rules, would force them to lose their “grandfathered” status.