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Here's What You Need to Know About Obamacare

Worried about impending costs? We've gathered the latest updates all in one place.
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Next month marks a year since the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

But despite efforts by the president's administration to sway the public's opinion, about half of small business owners believe it will be bad news

Many of the law's provisions kick in January 2014, so we pulled together a roundup of what you need to know before then. 

Health incentives. The Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services departments has issued a rule that lets employers incentivize wellness, reports The New York Times. Penalties are now worth up to 50 percent of the premium and push workers to step up their exercise, drop some weight, and quit smoking, among other behaviors. Employees who participate in their company's wellness program can be rewarded with a premium discount. 

Self-insurance. Some health care providers like UnitedHealth and Humana let companies "self-insure." Doing so means covering employees' medical costs directly, reports The Wall Street Journal. While there are benefits to self-insurance such as bypassing costs for mental health care, a tragic turn of events can leave a business stuck with large bills. 

Smaller bills (really). Businesses with older, sick employees might find themselves with smaller insurance bills, thanks to a provision of ACA. The clause bars insurers from setting coverage rates for small businesses based on the current health of employees, notes The Journal. With fewer than 50 to 100 workers depending on the state, a business can find rates on government-run health care marketplaces. 

Now see how some businesses are addressing the Act directly: 

  • Brian Gleason of Des-Case Corp. brought an insurance-consulting firm to break the news to employees. "Anything that impacts the employment relationship is something that we have to be concerned about from a recruiting and retention perspective," he said to The Journal
  • Richard Stark, president of Ziegler's NYPD pizza chain, told The Journal that employees who opt for company health care may take home less pay as a result of rising costs to the company. And if ACA requirements drive down overall profits, managers might see a smaller bonus as well. 
  • Steven Laine of Future State, deemed the $2,000 per employee penalty a better alternative than following the Act altogether. 

For more on more on how four different small businesses are coping with Obamacare, check out this story. 

Last updated: May 31, 2013

JANA KASPERKEVIC | Staff Writer

Jana Kasperkevic is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.




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