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ObamaCare Glitches and Rate Hikes Create More Problems For Small Businesses

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Washington, October 24, 2013 | comments

Since the opening of Obamacare enrollment earlier this month, small business owners have been frustrated by the well-publicized problems with the rollout and increases in health care costs. These problems further add to the uncertainty around the law and follow a series of delays and confusion dating back to the spring.

Here is what small business owners have told us through the Committee’s interactive website “Small Biz Open Mic” about the impact of the problems on their businesses.




My husband and I own a small manufacturing company. We have contributed more than 50% towards our employees health insurance premiums for over 10 years. We have absorbed double-digit increases in premiums and offered high deductible plans in order to allow our employees and their families to be covered at a manageable cost. The plan that we offered in 2013 is considered "non-compliant" with the ACA. A "comparable" plan that is compliant will result in an average 27.9% premium increase for 2014. We cannot afford our portion and my employees cannot afford theirs. The delays in getting rates to employers will mean that we don't have enough time to make a well-considered decision on what to offer (if anything) to our employees. I spend more time on insurance issues than I do on running my business. How is this better for anyone?

Nancy Williams (Cheshire, CT) Harkness Industries, October 22, 2013

We've been told to expect our health care premiums to jump 50% next year. Normally our plan year begins June 1st. We've been able to launch our next plan year Dec. 1st of this year . . . meaning we should see a delay in this huge increase until we renew, Dec. 1st of next year. But my problem is more basic. Why is the government trying to get involved in healthcare? Does it think a group of bureaucrats are smarter than the free enterprise system? Why do they think it will be more efficient? What incentive does the bureaucrat have to do things more efficiently, or better? Look at the roll-out of the website. A disaster. A private company would go out of business. The government simply pours more money into their mistake until they get it fixed. What a mess.

Rick Jory (Highlands Ranch, CO) Sandhill Scientific, Inc., October 22, 2013

I own a small home healthcare business and am being crushed by the incredible burden of unnecessary regulations and requirements, taxes and fees. I could go on and on in excruciating detail about the devastating effects the ACA will have on my business, like all other small business owners. But the most demoralizing and paralyzing hurdle and effect the Obama administration has on me and my business, is when I watch the abuse of power they exert us by their deliberately wasting our money, promoting their incompetence, creating our dependence, dividing our strengths, exploiting any crisis, shirking their responsibility, unethically enforcing our rule of law and cowardly avoiding American and international leadership. If any of us ran our businesses under those principles...we would be out of business, fined and in prison. No small business owner will take risks under the current administration.

Mark Wells (Las Vegas, NV), October 22, 2013

So far - I have NOT been able to access the website. I have not tried for a week (maybe fixed - highly doubt it) and I don't have the "free" time to waste to see if it is or isn't working nor do I have the time to sit on a phone call to see if I can actually get a live person to help with this. I don't see that our business will be benefiting from any of the credits offered; as 2 out of 3 employees are owners (and owners don't get the credit). I am not impressed with Obamacare and I don't feel that it is going to help employers (small companies).

Strasburg, CO Small Business Owner, October 22, 2013

I consider myself to be extremely fortunate in that I have a very good insurance plan for the company. Our insurance provider has fortunately offered us a chance to renew our current group policy as of December 1st, thus delaying any ObamaCare requirements until late next year when things may be a little clearer. I have looked at the SHOP web site and it looks like it is going to be very painful.  I am sure the result of all of this will be terminating group coverage for employees when the policy comes up in December 2014.  Given that if we offer a policy that employees choose not to go with that the employer can be penalized - which may or may not apply to under-50 employee small businesses - it seems an obvious choice to limit the liability.  Which is what I believe all businesses will be forced to do in the near future.

Paul Crowley (Davenport, IA) InfinaDyne, October 22, 2013

ObamaCare is a perfect example of government gone wild with other people’s money. I employ less than 50 people and provide good health insurance policies to all full timers even though I am not required to do so. These are BCBS policies with low out-of-pocket expenses. Every one of my employees has recently received a letter informing them that their policies will be cancelled because they do not conform to "government guidelines". As we begin to look at replacement policies, we see that both monthly costs and out of pocket expenses with both skyrocket. I will have to cap my contribution and pass all extra burden on to the employee. This will definitely hurt every one of them. This is a totally absurd government monstrosity.

Scott Marsh (Ijamsville, MD) Denovo Biotechnology, October 22, 2013

After 27 years I simply cannot figure out how to keep the doors open without drastic cuts in payroll and benefits. Friday I laid off 20% of my employees.. no, FRIENDS. Those are PEOPLE for heavens sake! With Families!, Your interference in the market place on virtually every front is so disruptive (not to mention disheartening) thousands of us won't survive. And, it absolutely galls me to throw my employees (whom I’ve provided health insurance for all these years) out onto the exchange that can't even accept their applications. Don't lie to me about covering the uninsured-you have created the uninsured!

Louise Peters (Anchorage, AK), October 22, 2013

The Affordable Health Care act will definitely have a negative impact on our small business. We started feeling the effects with the latest health rate increase along with adding employees during open enrollment. I am not sure if next year, when the rates are raised again, if we will have the profits available to afford health benefits. We need to provide benefits to entice good employees and must provide raises to keep them. Small business owners are not wealthy. We are taxed to death is what is really happening. No profits, no growth, no raises, how do we grow the economy with that mentality? The government needs to work together for the good of the people.

Debbie Peacock (Mesa, AZ) FDI, October 22, 2013

As a small employer, we are trying to do what is right for our employees by offering benefits. There is no option available through the ACA and exchanges that comes close to lining up with the coverage we offer our employees, so losing that group coverage would cause hardship to our employees and their families. We cannot continue to absorb the increased costs and therefore, will be forced to pass these additional taxes through to our employees increasing the amount they must pay for insurance. What happened to "there will be no new taxes and no additional cost" to implementing the ACA? How are small businesses supposed to compete with the large corporations for top talent if we can't afford to offer benefits? When did the definition of benefit (something offered voluntarily by an employer to an employee in addition to wages) change to mean an entitlement (something expected and sometimes legislated)?

Floyds Knobs, IN Small Business Owner, October 23, 2013



Recognizing the importance of entrepreneurs’ feedback in the process of shaping the very policies that will help determine their business sustainability and growth, Chairman Graves launched Small Biz Open Mic in September of 2011.

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