'... every year after the enactment of the ACA, my insurance premiums increased by double digits'
NFIB Ohio member Kelly Moore of Zanesville told the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health today that health insurance is still too costly and confusing for many small businesses.
Moore, who owns NAPA Auto Parts stores in Zanesville, Dresden, and Coshocton, said the Affordable Care Act actually led to a substantial increase in health insurance premiums.
“Before the Affordable Care Act mandates were imposed, we paid 80% of the premiums for our employees and their dependents,” she said. “However, every year after the enactment of the ACA, my insurance premiums increased by double digits.
“In 2010 alone, the very first year, we experienced a 30% increase in premiums,” Moore said. “By 2015, the year-over-year increase was 21%, By 2016, it was 18%, and in the 2017 benefit year was scheduled to be an additional 24% year-over-year increase.” Moore said the increases forced her business to reduce its contribution, and in 2017, she made the difficult decision to stop offering health insurance benefits.
“It was a gut-wrenching decision,” she said. “I lost sleep. I spent a lot of hours making phone calls, trying to crunch numbers, trying to find a way to insure those employees.”
Moore said her employees currently have coverage due to recent legislative and regulatory actions. “We reinstituted coverage in 2019 when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act‘s small business deduction allowed us to deduct 20% of our pass-through income,” she said. “In 2020, a change in the regulations by the Trump administration allowed NAPA Auto Parts to offer an association health plan.” However, she said, “If either of these valuable government policies were to expire, we would no longer be able to afford or offer health insurance as a benefit and an attraction to new employees.”
“The status quo is unsustainable,” Moore said. “We need cost containment, choices, flexibility when it comes to our health insurance so that we can provide so that we can provide the best possible coverage for our employees without breaking the bank.”
Earlier today, NFIB released a national survey showing that small businesses are facing a substantial affordability crisis in providing health insurance to their employees. The survey found most small business owners find it challenging to manage the cost of offering employer-sponsored health insurance, and almost half have taken a lower profit or suffered a loss to pay for health insurance premium increases over the last five years. Click here to learn more about NFIB’s national survey.