The uproar from the estimated 4.5 million Americans whose individual health insurance policies are being terminated thanks to ObamaCare will pale into insignificance once the additional estimated 50 to 100 million workers with employer health coverage discover that theirs will be too. A study released on Wednesday by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) estimated that as many as 100 million Americans will lose their group insurance coverage because it doesn't meet the mandates of ObamaCare. The impact will be most painfully felt by small business owners and their employees, according to AEI resident scholar Stan Veuger:
The impact I’m mostly worried about is on small, young, entrepreneurial firms that will suddenly face much higher health insurance premiums if they want to offer health insurance to their employees.
I think for a lot of [those] business ... they [will] just send their employees to the exchanges, or offer them a fixed subsidy every month to buy health insurance for themselves.
Under ObamaCare, companies with fewer than 50 employees aren't required to provide health insurance coverage for them, but if they do, they must meet the greatly expanded “high-tier” benefits mandated by the new healthcare act. That means that most plans, between half and two-thirds of those currently in place at small businesses around the country, will be cancelled unless they alter their coverage to meet the new requirements.
Those notices will likely arrive just in time for the November 2014 elections because many small businesses took advantage of a loophole in the new law which allowed them to renew their plans before the end of the year for another full year before the new mandated benefits would apply. This would, however, only delay the pain of the coming changes and premium increases. For example, Aetna has encouraged “off-cycle” renewals for its group policyholders to put off the day of reckoning. But as Aetna spokeswoman Stephanie Ancellai noted, when those group plans are renewed next year, “small businesses will pay more for their health coverage,” seeing increases estimated by Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini to be between 20 and 50 percent.
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