Can Small Business Owners Avoid Higher Costs Under ACA Requirements?

Impending health care regulations, which will make small business owners with more than 50 full-time workers extend those employees health insurance, are a source of consternation for many companies. Some may fear that the added costs will cause them to lose money, and as a result, a number of entrepreneurs may now be looking for ways to cut their small business insurance costs.

One way in which many companies may now be preparing to handle the coming obligations under the Affordable Care Act is to simply keep the number of workers they employ limited to fewer than that 50-person threshold which would oblige them to offer coverage, according to a report from the Associated Press. Fortunately for many companies which do not currently offer their full-time workers health insurance, the requirement that they begin doing so, which was originally slated to go into effect at the start of next year (the same time as the individual mandate), was recently delayed by the Obama administration until 2015.

That generally means that owners have more time to figure out their strategies for how they will handle the requirement in the first place, the report said. Many, however, may simply be planning to curtail hiring efforts they might have been planning on, the report said. Others may choose to hire in different ways, bringing on more part-time workers who would not increase the number of full-timers that count toward that total of 50. Under the law, employees are only considered to be full-time if they work 30 or more hours per week; even those working 29 will not qualify.

Others may simply find the most affordable types of coverage possible when they already have more workers on payroll than that limit of 50, or decrease the amount of workers' premiums that they pay, the report said. While this may be difficult for some workers, it could also help to ensure that they are receiving coverage they did not get previously, while also working to better ensure that their companies can be successful under the law.

Small business owners may also want to consider ways in which they can reduce their other insurance costs as well. Cutting costs for general liability insurance or workers' compensation may be a major help to owners' bottom lines as they try to navigate these new regulatory requirements safely and successfully.