Real Cost of Unaffordable Care Act Plans Will Be 18% Higher for Small Businesses

Each day brings us closer to the full implementation of the federalAffordable Care Act (ACA). We’re now only 59 days away from October 1 – the day open enrollment is set to begin for health plans sold on the federally-run health insurance exchange that will operate in Ohio. (Though the coverage available on the exchange will be effective January 1, 2014, consumers can begin selecting plans and enrolling on October 1.)

Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) released datacomparing the actual premium costs of plans that will be sold on the exchange versus plans currently sold in Ohio. And guess what?
Premiums for small businesses will rise an average of 18%. And the increase is even greater in the individual market, which will see a jump of 41%. Shocking, isn’t it?
The average premium in the small group market today is $341.03 per month, but will increase to $401.99 in 2014. That’s another $731.52 a year per covered life that employers will have to pay.
Some ACA apologists accused ODI Director and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor of making an unfair comparison, in that the average premium for policies currently being sold today includes some types of policies – such as high-deductible plans – that won’t be available on the exchange. That’s because exchange plans must cover an array of ACA-mandated “essential health benefits” that represents a richer benefits package than some employers currently offer their employees. (Which underscores another concern about the ACA: employers will have fewer health care coverage options, as well.)
Such criticism misses the point. You can try to explain away the reasons however you want, but the fact remains that the costs small businesses will pay for employee health care are going up, not down.
Others say the projections are misleading because they don’t account for the federal subsidies available to many individuals purchasing coverage on the exchange. Hello! Whether or not someone is eligible for premium assistance doesn’t negate the fact that the cost of the coverage will be higher!
As we’ve said from the beginning, the Affordable Care Act does little to reign in the underlying cost of health care and would prove to be anything but affordable. Now that the law is nearing its implementation, that fact is becoming increasingly evident.

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