USA Today: Small businesses scrambling to renew health plans ahead of more cost hikes

posted at 3:21 pm on November 4, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The Obama administration has been generally and glibly adamant in their talking point insisting that the “Affordable” Care Act’s  is in fact a major boon to the economy and not the uncertainty-inducing scourge of jobs and small businesses that critics claim it is — but they might want to tell that to these guys. Last week, the National Federation of Independent Businesses released a study reporting that a full two-thirds of small businesses are already paying more for insurance premiums per employee between 2012 and 2013, and owners’ attempts to shield their workers from the effects are not coming cheaply. The Washington Times reports:

The pro-business nonprofit group found in a survey of almost 1,000 small businesses that owners pay an average of $6,721 a month, or $80,652 a year, to provide health care insurance to their employees. …

Two-thirds of employees pay the same price for deductibles as they did last year, but 28 percent pay more, and only four percent pay less.

Owners are also covering higher insurance premiums, with 66 percent of small businesses cutting into profits to pay for cost increases, while 40 percent delayed, postponed or eliminated business investment to make room for health insurance. Nearly half of employers also sought to increase productivity to pay for the costs.

The authors of the study say the Obama administration’s flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act is part of the problem.

“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,” said William J. Dennis, the author of the study and a senior fellow at the NFIB Research Foundation.

And in the meantime, companies are bracing for impact and scrambling to re-up their current health plans before the January 1st deadline after which new premium prices are bound to start going up even more — although many companies are still waiting to hear what rates they’ll be facing in 2014, because their concerns are getting put on the back-burner while state insurance commissioners are still scrambling with tasks related to ACA compliance. Via USA Today:

Thousands of small businesses around the U.S. are racing to renew their health insurance policies Dec. 1 to beat large premium increases their brokers say will hit them Jan. 1 when the Affordable Care Act takes full effect.

Some health insurance brokers also say 2014 may be the last year many of the companies even offer health insurance.

Insurance brokers from several states told USA TODAY that 60% to 80% of their small-business clients — those with 50 employees or fewer — are renewing their policies early to skirt the law. Companies with more than 50 employees aren’t allowed to adjust their renewal dates.

Some “anecdotal” examples, ahem:

-In Louisville, Ky., broker Matt Schwartz says about 60% of his small-business clients are renewing Dec. 1. He estimates the new insurance rating rules will increase healthy younger companies’ group rates anywhere from 30% to 100%. His early-renewal clients hope at least to delay that for up to 11 months, he says. After that, “clearly, some of these small businesses will drop their insurance,” he says. .

-In Hampstead, N.H., Tom Harte says it would benefit about half of his approximately 200 small-business clients to renew on Dec. 1. It was an easy decision for one company that was facing a 3% premium increase in December vs. a 20% one in January. “I’m 100% confident some healthy young groups’ premiums in other states are doubling,” he says. …

And etcetera. But don’t worry — I’m sure this will all turn out to be for Americans’ economic benefit in the long run. …Er, somehow. Maybe. Probably not.


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“Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”

Akzed on November 4, 2013 at 3:26 PM

“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,” said William J. Dennis, the author of the study and a senior fellow at the NFIB Research Foundation.

And this didn’t reduce premiums by 3,000%???

NotCoach on November 4, 2013 at 3:27 PM

-In Louisville, Ky., broker Matt Schwartz says about 60% of his small-business clients are renewing Dec. 1. He estimates the new insurance rating rules will increase healthy younger companies’ group rates anywhere from 30% to 100%. His early-renewal clients hope at least to delay that for up to 11 months, he says. After that, “clearly, some of these small businesses will drop their insurance,” he says. .

-In Hampstead, N.H., Tom Harte says it would benefit about half of his approximately 200 small-business clients to renew on Dec. 1. It was an easy decision for one company that was facing a 3% premium increase in December vs. a 20% one in January. “I’m 100% confident some healthy young groups’ premiums in other states are doubling,” he says. …

It’s raining shoes all over the place and it’s all because Republicans are guilty of carrying out counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement.

NotCoach on November 4, 2013 at 3:29 PM

His early-renewal clients hope at least to delay that for up to 11 months, he says. After that, “clearly, some of these small businesses will drop their insurance,” he says. .

Just in time for the November 2014 elections. Millions more dropped off of their plans thanks to O care one month before the election.

Johnnyreb on November 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM

The Obama administration has been generally and glibly adamant in their talking point their talking point insisting that the “Affordable” Care Act’s is in fact a major boon to the economy and not the uncertainty-inducing scourge of jobs and small businesses that critics claim it is — but they might want to tell that to these guys.

I’m sorry, but does anyone else notice that nearly every post Erika does there is some sort of grammatical error? I’d think by now somebody would be checking her work before it is published.

dookphan on November 4, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Expert: At least 129 million will ‘not be able to keep’ health care plan if Obamacare fully implemented

Schadenfreude on November 4, 2013 at 3:33 PM

2014 will be way cool.

Schadenfreude on November 4, 2013 at 3:33 PM

The Obama administration has been generally and glibly adamant in their talking point their talking point insisting that the “Affordable” Care Act’s

It should also be ‘Care’, because is isn’t.

Affordable – Not
Care – Not
Act – indeed

But, Erika, always call it obama’care’. He was ok with it in 2012 and, now that it flopped, he disowns it.

Don’t let him/Carney, and all his rats and cockroaches, do this.

Schadenfreude on November 4, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I hate to say, “I told you so.”

Oh, hell, no I don’t. I love rubbing the 0-bots’ noses in this mess that they made.

UltimateBob on November 4, 2013 at 3:38 PM

But those are pathetic, malnourished,under-whelming Small Biz plans….

/libs

hillsoftx on November 4, 2013 at 3:39 PM

What is the end game? Single Payer? Are Americans so into iphones, cable TV, and internet that they will allow this to happen?

Oil Can on November 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Expert: At least 129 million will ‘not be able to keep’ health care plan if Obamacare fully implemented

Schadenfreude on November 4, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Three Thirty three percent? That’s it. What’s the hullabaloo about.

libfreeordie on October 31, 2013 at 4:51 PM

NotCoach on November 4, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Not surprised. HR told me they were doing this exact thing last week.

Butters on November 4, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Just in time for the November 2014 elections. Millions more dropped off of their plans thanks to O care one month before the election.

Johnnyreb on November 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Which will translate to the repubs taking a major beating. The reason is because they are already being blamed for the BOcare mess and the MSM will make great efforts over the next year to ensure that the public knows it was the fault of the repubs. The democraps will run on a platform of fixing the mess made by the repubs and the repubs will spend the year trashing each other and not wanting to look mean by saying the dems are wrong.

Dr. Frank Enstine on November 4, 2013 at 3:44 PM

And no one will be held to account for this disaster. No one will go to jail.

Iblis on November 4, 2013 at 3:46 PM

No one will go to jail.

Iblis on November 4, 2013 at 3:46 PM

All aboard.

faraway on November 4, 2013 at 3:46 PM

What is the end game? Single Payer? Are Americans so into iphones, cable TV, and internet that they will allow this to happen?

Oil Can on November 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM

It’s not because they are into iphones, cable TV, and internet that they will allow it to happen. It will happen because everyone will be forced to pay the higher costs, get nothing for their money and see how bad BOcare is. They will want a quick fix and the dems and MSM will lie and say single payer is the only way to fix it. It’s only weirdos like us here that get our news from the internet blogs and such. Most people get it from the MSM and even if the go to the web for it they go to only MSM sites. People are low information voters not because they don’t look at the news. They are LIVs because the places they go for news doesn’t give the anything informative.

Dr. Frank Enstine on November 4, 2013 at 3:50 PM

I had a friend tell me the other day that he had to provide proof of health insurance so his son could participate in some sort of weekend class for game programming. Having to provide proof of insurance will be another way dem friendly organizations will help to insure nobody will be skipping the enrollment.

Dr. Frank Enstine on November 4, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Killing capitalism one policy at a time.

faraway on November 4, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Here’s what Botox Pelosi said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoE1R-xH5To. Everything that is going on now I think is so funny. The Liberals are running wild now. The ones that will get hurt the worse voted for this scum of the earth lowlife piece of s**t. Funny, funny, funny.

tmgrant on November 4, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Just in time for the November 2014 elections. Millions more dropped off of their plans thanks to O care one month before the election.

Johnnyreb on November 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Damn Republicans!

LOL, j/k. Mostly.

Between today and the election:
– the GOP will be working ceaselessly to destroy their enemy – Conservatives/Tea Party;
– the media will be working ceaselessly to help Democrats characterize the Obamacare disaster as the fault of the Republicans, who will be too busy alienating much of their base to notice or respond;
– fury at the GOP on the part of the rabid zombie sheep who will come to actually believe and regurgitate the propaganda will turn out to punish the GOP, while the GOP conservative/tea party base will… stay home;
– having increased their seats in the Senate and retaken the House, the Democrats will immediately ram single payer through on strict party-line votes, to the cheering of the adoring zombie masses…

Midas on November 4, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Obamacare was designed, by progressives, to destroy small business, or at least ensure that at the end of the year they do not have accumulated wealth to be active in the political process.

Murphy9 on November 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

My company is facing a 25% increase for 2014 vs 35% increases over the past two years. However, we have been able to switch to an HSA plan that is about flat with last year.

I’m hearing that the HSAs are actually a lot more competitive than they have been and that a lot of the small business market will be switching to those plans. That is actually a good thing–employees will have more skin in the game and they can save for future health care expenditures on a pre-tax basis.

phillypolitics on November 4, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Obamacare: Get Less, Pay More!

AZCoyote on November 4, 2013 at 4:22 PM

So many more shoes to drop….

None of this was accidental. Remember, It’s a feature, not a bug.

Athos on November 4, 2013 at 4:42 PM

We renewed early for a mere 14% increase to lock in our plans for one last year.

After that, we’ll probably join Samaritan Ministries. If our employees don’t want to do that, then they can sign up for Barry’s Big Fascist Medical System, and we’ll give them a raise.

What is the end game? Single Payer? Are Americans so into iphones, cable TV, and internet that they will allow this to happen?

Oil Can on November 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM

No way. The last thing the Ruling Class wants is to be held solely responsible for their policies. Fascism is the perfect solution for them because, when it all goes horribly wrong, they will always have the “free market” to blame.

Rae on November 4, 2013 at 4:59 PM

“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,”

Well naturally! It wasn’t like it was coming out of THEIR pockets!

GarandFan on November 4, 2013 at 5:29 PM

My company just released our health plan details for 2014. For the best plan, deductibles went from $500 to $2700. Co-pays/Co-insurance also went up.

But all we hear from Team Obama is that those with employer benefits won’t be affected. Tell that to all the minimum wage workers around here wondering how in the world they’ll pay such a high deductible!!!!

jeanneb on November 4, 2013 at 5:50 PM

From The Obama Timeline:

Lost in the headlines about Healthcare.gov glitches and the high cost of ObamaCare policies is the fact that American businesses will face, starting in 2014, an “Annual Fee on Health Insurers,” and a “Transitional Reinsurance Program Contribution Fee.” Many businesses—particularly smaller businesses—have no idea they will soon be hit with these expenses. One business owner tells The Obama Timeline that his company will be hit with an annual fee of $30,825—in addition to the $900,000 or so he now pays for health insurance for his employees. He asks, “How many employers, in my situation, will simply cough up $30,825.00? How may will raise the price of the widget they manufacture? How many will fire an employee worth $30,825.00? How many employers will simply drop coverage and pay the employer mandate fine delayed for 2014 but which will rear its very ugly head less than a year from now? How many will or have raised employee shares of premiums to mitigate these new fees? …As an employer providing quite good coverage, and having done so since 1980, I wish I had a dollar for each time I yelled ‘liar’ or ‘that’s not true’ since the ObamaCare debates were gaining traction years ago. Had the absolute truth been told to the American people, we would NOT be in the situation we are in. But then my expectation is unreasonable, to expect the TRUTH from a politician.” (For a business with 51¬-150 employees, the annual ObamaCare fee added by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is 3.25 percent of the premium.)

The business owner also notes that the group policy covering his employees will be up for renewal in mid-2014. At that point, he expects the premiums to increase dramatically—and the 3.25 percent ObamaCare fee will, of course, then be applied to that higher rate. He is also concerned about 2015, when the delayed employer mandate kicks in. If any of his competitors cancel their group employee insurance, they will have a distinct price advantage. That may force him to drop coverage for his own employees (to let them fend for themselves at Healthcare.gov), because his competitors will be able to undercut his prices in an effort to force him out of business. He concludes, “Only a few will admit that ObamaCare is destined to fail but designed to lead to total control of healthcare by government. Ask the folks what ‘single-payer’ really means. I weep for the future.”

Colony14 on November 5, 2013 at 4:03 PM