For Immediate Release
Jack Mozloom, 202-406-4450 or 609-462-5610 (cell)
Follow NFIB on Twitter @NFIB
Follow Jack on Twitter @JackMozNFIB
Major Findings: 63 percent of small
business owners reported premium increases last year; 16 percent still
providing benefit that could land them in hot water with the IRS
DC (November 12, 2015) — A new nationwide
survey of small business owners shows that 63 percent reported higher health
insurance premiums between July 2014 and July 2015 and many are offering or considering
a benefit for workers that they don’t yet realize is outlawed by the Affordable
Care Act, according to the National
Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
“The Affordable Care Act may be providing some
relief to certain Americans but small business owners are largely not among
them,” said NFIB Research Director Holly
Wade. “Premiums for most small
business owners increased again last year.”
According to the survey, 63 percent of small
businesses that offer health coverage to their workers experienced an increase
in premiums between 2014 and 2015. A
similar percentage of employers reported increases during the previous 12-month
period. Only eight percent of owners
last year reported a decrease in premiums while 27 percent said their rates
remained the same. Of those experiencing higher premium costs, nearly 60
percent of them had average per employee increases of more than 10 percent last
Also according to the research, 16 percent of
owners currently reimburse employees for the cost of insurance or medical
visits. That’s troublesome, said Wade,
because this year the IRS determined that reimbursing workers isn’t in
compliance with the ACA. Employers who
violate the rule could face fines of up to $100 per day per employee, which
potentially amounts to $36,500 per year.
Even more worrisome, said Wade, is that 20 percent of owners are
actively considering a reimbursement benefit for their employees.
“More than a third of small business owners are in
violation of the rule or may be in violation soon,” said Wade. “That signals a big education gap in the
employer community and it’s a very serious threat to small businesses.”
The report, “Small Business’s Introduction to the
Affordable Care Act, Part III,” is the final piece of a three-year
longitudinal study of how the ACA affects small businesses. Other key findings include:
cost of health insurance continues to be the principal reason that small employers
do not offer the benefit. Of the 60 percent of small employers who do not offer
health insurance, 52 percent say that cost is the reason they do not.
employers are generally not interested in the exchange marketplaces as most
have not visited the HealthCare.gov website. And interest has not increased
much over the last two years.
percent accessed the individual exchange marketplace and only 3 percent were
interested in the SHOP exchange marketplace. Nine percent visited the website
for both individual and business insurance. However, the majority (66 percent)
of owners were not interested in either, the same as last year (Q#76).
41 percent of small employers are personally covered by an individual market
health insurance plan, up 11 percentage points from 2013. The percent of owners covered through their
spouse or the business (17 percent and 33 percent, respectively) has remained
relatively stable in that same time frame (Q#6).
eight percent of owners personally covered by an individual market health
insurance plan purchased it through the government facilitated exchange. Of those who purchased in the exchange, roughly
57 percent received a taxpayer subsidy that reduced their overall premium cost.
Approximately 42 percent did not receive a reduced rate, and paid for the
entire amount of the health insurance premium (Q#8).
80 percent of small employers are familiar with the law. Of those who are
familiar, 29 percent consider themselves very familiar with it and 51 percent
somewhat familiar (Q#72). The level of familiarity does not differ based on
whether the employer offers health insurance or not, but does by firm size.
percent of small employers offering health insurance changed little over the
last year with 41 percent offering the benefit, a 1 point increase from the
2014 survey but 5 percentage points lower than in 2013 (Q#17).
rising cost of health insurance requires small business owners to decide how
best to absorb those costs. The most frequent action taken by owners (54
percent) experiencing higher health insurance costs was to increase
productivity and efficiency. The second most common action was to accept lower
profits (Q#50). Fifty-two percent of owners paid for higher costs through lower
“The Affordable Care Act has been in place for
more than five years and it’s familiar to a large majority of small business
owners,” said Wade. “Its architects and
supporters placed a heavy emphasis on the benefits for small business. After five years, however, most of those
benefits in terms of cost, choice and flexibility aren’t yet evident in the
data collected from surveys of small business owners.”
To view the entire report, please visit www.nfib.com/aca2015.