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 Obamacare: What It Means For Businesses

​The June Supreme Court vote to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had an impact not only on American individuals, but American businesses as well. While some regulations, such as the provision allowing adult children to stay under their parents’ health insurance up to age 26, have already been enacted, many more will go into effect beginning in 2013. 

Come Jan. 1, 2013, a new 0.9 percent tax hike on self-employment income and single individuals who earn more than $200,000 annually will hit. Couples who earn more than $250,000 annually will also be taxed.

Furthermore, a 3.8 percent tax hike will be placed on the investment income of singles earning more than $200,000 annually and couples who earn more than $250,000 annually.

Other provisions will be phased in over the coming years. 

The individual mandate requires every American (with a few exceptions) to purchase insurance through his or her employer, through government-run exchanges, or on his or her own accord.

Beginning in 2014, the employer mandate will require every American business owner with 50 or more employees to provide at least a minimum baseline of coverage to his employees; failure to do so will result in a $2,000-per-employer price tag to be paid annually to the federal government. Businesses with less than 50 employees are considered small and are exempt from the mandate.

A recent webinar, hosted by Aon Hewitt and the American Health Care Association, outlined the 2013 ACA provisions, explained how they will impact employee-sponsored benefits programs, and offered suggestions to help business owners prepare for the major systematic changes.

Kenneth Morgan of the Aon Hewitt Legal Group, and Jonathan Gibb, an Aon expert in developing benefit strategies that align with business goals, moderated the presentation.

Further down the road, in 2018, is a 0.9 percent increase in the Medicare payroll tax for Americans earning more than $200,000 a year.

In a July 8 Washington Post article, columnist Ezra Klein suggested that this tax pushes Americans to change their behavior. “It’s a tax on unusually expensive, employer-provided health insurance plans,” Klein said.

“It begins at $10,200 for an individual plan and $27,500 for a family plan. Above that, there’s a 40 percent tax on the excess premiums. So if your plan is valued at $11,200, your employer will pay a 40 percent tax on the $1,000 surplus.”

Morgan and Gibb encouraged business owners to utilize Internet resources and to consult their attorneys and financial advisors about the best plan of action for their company.

The Nov. 6 election will be enormously influential with regard to the future of Obamacare. But for now, Morgan and Gibb believe business owners should start to formulate a plan of action, should the president be reelected.

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