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Health-care law will impact small firms

Jan 17, 2014 | 03:50 PM |

Tags  Affordable Care Act, ACA, health care, Center for Studying Health System Change, Paul Ginsburg, Metals Service Center Institute, MSCI, Tubular Conference Thorsten Schier

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — The Affordable Care Act (ACA) likely will impact small, low-wage employers most in the near term, while large companies won’t see any effect until probably 2018, according to an industry expert.

"It’s a major issue for (small) low-wage employers and employees. The cost of retaining a (full-time) low-cost employee with health benefits is so much more difficult. Many (employers) have reduced hours to get below 30 (hours), which defines a full-time employee," Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, told the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) Tubular Conference in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Small employers typically are defined as those with up to 100 employees, Ginsburg told AMM on the sidelines of the conference, although definitions under the act can vary.

Meanwhile, large employers will see little effect until the so-called "Cadillac tax" provision starts in 2018, which imposes a charge on premiums above a certain ceiling. Many large employers that are adjusting their health care plans this year are actually preparing for the Cadillac tax, Ginsburg said.

In general, the act will favor employers with older workers as their insurance premiums will shrink, while those with younger employees will have to pay more than previously due to a mandated compression in the ratio between premiums for older and younger workers.

While there have been a lot of challenges to the law by Republicans, Ginsburg sees little chance of it going away completely. "I don’t think the ACA will collapse," although some provisions might change.

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