As a small-business owner, Pam Butler doesn’t worry much about the Affordable Care Act. She employs 16 at her Tallahassee-based information technology services firm, which means she falls below the 50-employee threshold that separates small businesses from large employers under the Affordable Care Act — an important distinction because large employers are required to offer affordable, comprehensive health care beginning in 2015.
Even though the law doesn’t require her to do so, Butler already offers health insurance to full-time employees. She plans to continue offering the benefit, staying with the same insurance company. Aegis pays 50% of the $4,500-a-year annual premiums for her employees. “That’s as generous as a small business can be,” Butler says.
She doesn’t gain from a part of the law that offers tax credits to small-business owners to offset the cost of health care. To qualify for that tax credit, the average wages of her employees must be below $50,000.
Butler says the only part of the law that could impact her bottom line is if premiums dramatically increase. This year, her premiums rose 9%, which she attributes to adding employees. Insurance brokers told her to expect rates to jump again next year from 5% to 8% or more.