Survey: Small Businesses Still See High Medical Costs

obamacare survey[Click for full image]

Most U.S. citizens will need to sign up for healthcare by 2014. Businesses with 50 or more full-time employees will need to provide heathcare for those employees or face a penalty by 2015.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) wanted to learn what impact the Affordable Care Act (PDF), a.k.a. Obamacare, would have on costs associated with that insurance. The answer, according to a survey conducted by the NFIB this summer, is none at all so far.

The survey (PDF) included a total of 921 small businesses around the country with between 2 and 200 employees, NFIB officials said. The NFIB says 64 percent of these businesses paid more in premiums per employee this year than in 2012.

The survey is part of a three year study intended to map the impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses. Commenting in an official release, NFIB Research Foundation senior fellow and study author William J. Dennis explained:

The law’s authors were primarily focused on increasing insurance coverage and expanding benefits—they gave little or no consideration to concerns about cost or who would foot the bill. Ironically, had they instead made reducing costs a priority, this would have been a natural incentive for increasing coverage.

The NFIB has advocated a delay in the individual mandate of the law for at least a year. The organization also seeks relief on what it says are the more onerous aspects of the employer mandate set to go into effect in 2015.

For example, Dennis estimates about 150,000 small businesses in the U.S. will be impacted by the so-called aggregation aspect of the employer mandate.

Dennis says federal officials can count all the employees in multiple businesses operated by a single owner when determining whether that owner falls under the mandate.

The NFIB also wants to see the definition of a full-time employee in the law changed. The law currently defines a full-time employee as one who works 30 hours a week instead of the 40 hour a week definition they say has been the standard in most industries.

Image: NFIB


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

9 Reactions
  1. Shawn,

    Obamacare attracts much attention even for biz people outside the US. For us non-US business owners, can you please direct us to the right resources for learning more about Obamacare – calculation samples, implementations, etc.?

    • Same here. All I know is that it is a great help with the rising medical costs of small businesses. More information will be much appreciated.

    • Hi Ivan,
      You’re certainly not the only person having difficulty understanding it, my friend. With a lack of what seems to be comprehensive information and details continuing to change, I think many small businesses are having great difficulty getting a handle on things. The report cited here by the National Federation of Independent Business, the link to the actual legislation above and the government website (if it’s working, at the moment!) would be great places to start.

    • @Ivan and @Aira (and @Shawn) I’m not an Obamacare expert but we put a lot of time in to the resource below. The NFIB even now has it on their site as a good resource. It’s a good starting point to make sure you are complying with the law. We also have a long list of resources at the bottom of the resource as a jumping off point.

      It’s found here:


  2. Costs will increase. Any growing business approaching 50 employees will give 2nd thought on hiring and many at the 51 to 75 level will start cutting jobs. The strategies of switching workers to part time or breaking a business up into independent units will not work. Provisions are in the law to prevent these strategies to circumvent the mandate.

    When pre-exisiting conditions must be covered, that’s not insurance, it’s socialized medicine. The public will foot the bill, as the public becomes less healthy due to our dietary habits. The march toward diabetes and all that comes with it.