ObamaCare Small Business Facts
How Will ObamaCare Impact Your Small Business?
Will ObamaCare Impact Your Small Business? ObamaCare small business tax breaks and credits are available to cover ObamaCare small business cost increases. While 96% of employers won't pay additional taxes, there is an increase to the current Medicare part A tax, paid by 3% of businesses and employees making over $200,000. There is also a requirement for employers with the equivalent of over 50 full-time equivalent employees to purchase health insurance for their workers or pay a penalty by 2015. ObamaCare offers incentives, such as tax breaks and tax credits via the SHOP Exchange, to small businesses with the equivalent of less than 25 full-time workers to help them provide health benefits to employees.
Let's find out what American Health Care Reform under The Affordable Care Act has in store for America's number one job creators, small businesses.
Does ObamaCare Hurt Small Business?
Before we get started, we need to address one of the favorite Media talking points, the claim that, "ObamaCare hurts small business."
The unbiased truth on ObamaCare and Small Business: ObamaCare helps most small businesses. The fact is, small business owners have historically had a much harder time providing themselves and their employees with insurance due to rising health insurance costs; meanwhile bigger businesses have remained largely unaffected due to the leverage buying large group health plans gives them. This problem has only gotten more severe in the past decade. Today, almost half of America's uninsured are small business owners, employees or their dependents.
Summary of ObamaCare and Small Business
A quick summary of what ObamaCare means for small businesses:
ObamaCare creates the Small Business Health Options Program or SHOP, a part of each States Health Insurance Marketplace, where small businesses with under 50 full-time equivalent employees can shop for group health plans starting October 1st, 2013. In 2016 those with 100 full-timers or less can use the SHOP.
Taxes and tax credits are based off of the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTE) and their average annual wages, not solely on the number of full-time employees.
• Small businesses with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages below $50,000 can get tax credits (as adjusted for inflation beginning in 2014) to help pay for employee premiums.
• Small businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages above $250,000 must provide health coverage to full time employees come 2015. This is sometimes called "the employer mandate".
Businesses making over $250,000 in profit must pay a .9% increase on the current Medicare part A tax. The tax is split (.45% each) between the employer and employees making over $200,000 individual ($250,000 family).
All businesses with over 50 full-time equivalent employees have to let their employees know about their State's Health Insurance Marketplace / exchange. What Do I Need to Tell My Employees about ObamaCare?
ATTENTION! Obamacare Small Business Mandate Delay: Obamacare's employer mandate has been delayed until 2015.
ObamaCare Small Business Video: Overview of Key Provisions Related to Small Business
This ObamaCare small business video from fitsmallbusiness does a great job at breaking down some of the key small business related provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
Here is a timeline sections contained in the ObamaCare small business video in case you want to skip ahead:
1:09 The 4 Company Size Categories of Obamacare
1:33 What FTE's are and how to calculate them for your business.
2:41 Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP Exchanges)
4:05 Obamacare Small Business Healthcare Tax Credit
5:34 The Employer Mandate
6:30 New costs for small businesses
7:07 How Obamacare differs based on the number of FTE's you employ
Positive Effects of ObamaCare on Small Business
ObamaCare provides small businesses with affordable insurance options, cost assistance and increased buying power via the SHOP exchange (explained below). Since small businesses with under 50 full-time equivalent employees can use the SHOP to get better deals on employee insurance, but aren't mandated to do so, it's safe to say small businesses will not be hurt by ObamaCare, but will in fact benefit.
The smaller the businesses the better the tax breaks.
Businesses with over 50 full-time equivalent employees are exempt from the fee on their first 30 full-time workers greatly reducing the negative affect the law could have on businesses who just barely qualify as a large firm.
The Employer mandate isn't meant to hurt small businesses, it's to ensure that companies like Walmart take a Shared Responsibility in providing healthcare access to more Americans.
• Small employers can see up to a 50% reduction in their share of the cost of employee premiums. The amount employers do pay is tax deductible and can be carried forward or backward.
• Small employers can offer better quality benefits due to the increased benefits, rights and protections offered by ObamaCare.
• Due to small businesses being able to shop for group health plans on their State's Health Insurance Marketplace via the SHOP, AKA the Small Business Health Options Program, small businesses now have the same buying power as larger firms. Along with tax credits, increased buying power helps small businesses afford to provide benefits to their employees.
• All new "ObamaCare taxes" larger small businesses and higher income employees pay help to make all the benefits, rights and protections of the law possible including subsidized insurance for low-to-middle income Americans, small businesses, and Medicare.
Negative Effects of ObamaCare on Small Business
Negative effects of ObamaCare on small business have included employees hours being cut, costs passed onto the consumers or shareholders, a reduction in hiring and more out-of-pocket costs for larger businesses. Almost all of the negative effects are due to some employers responding to the looming "employer mandate" in 2015 and thus cutting hours. Although the negative side effects of ObamaCare are very real for some small businesses; some of the more radical claims, the Papa Johns claim for instance, was over-dramatized and used as a talking point.
Some of the larger firms (those with over 50 full-time equivalent employees) and their employees may be affected by some of the new taxes as well as the 2015 employer mandate to buy insurance for full-timers.
Worker hours are cut back to part-time by larger firms to avoid providing coverage to full-timers.
Looking for more information on the ACA and your small business. Get an effective visual breakdown of ObamaCare and Small Business by signs.com.
What is a Small Business?
Although we tend to think "mom and pop" when we hear small business, the actual definition isn't that cut and dry. A small business is a business that is privately owned and operated, with a small number of employees and relatively low volume of sales. However depending on the industry and loopholes this could include companies with anywhere between 1 and 250 employees.
It's important to understand is that when someone says "small business" they could mean a wide range of different types and sizes of firms that are all technically classified as small businesses. For example, a hedge fund can pass millions of dollars through to investors using loop-holes to qualify as a small business. Another example, in some States small businesses in certain industries can an employee up to 99 full-timers and make less than $7 million in profit and still be categorized as a "small business".
Be weary of politicians who try to lump in hedge funds and other exceptions to the rule with "Mom and Pop Shops" who struggle to provide their workers with the same quality insurance that larger firms are able to provide.
ObamaCare, Small Business, Buying Power and Cost Assistance on the SHOP
When we say ObamaCare helps small business we mean that it helps smaller businesses provide their employees with better quality coverage that includes the new rights and protections offered by ObamaCare and gives them increased buying power (and in some cases cost-assistance) via the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) accessible through your State's health insurance marketplace.
ObamaCare helps to provide small business having fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages below $50,000 with better access to quality healthcare via tax credits of up to 50% of employee premium costs via the SHOP exchange, part of the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The SHOP exchanges, are State specific online marketplaces opening Oct 1st, 2013 where employers can purchase employee insurance in a controlled market giving them the same buying power as larger firms.
The SHOP will offer the same insurance choices and prices to small firms as they will to larger firms (although small firms may be able to use premium tax credits to "afford" cheaper insurance). The SHOP exchanges provide all employers with equal access to quality healthcare.
Below, we explain the different taxes and benefits of ObamaCare for small business as well as some small business facts to help you understand ObamaCare, Small Business and Small Business Insurance in America.
ObamaCare Small Business Costs: Do I Have to Purchase Insurance for My Employees?
Understanding the ObamaCare Small Business Mandate: Come 2015 (the mandate was pushed back from 2014 to 2015), Small Businesses with over 50 full-time employees that choose not to provide insurance, don't pay at least 60% of employee's premiums, provide insurance that doesn't meet the minimum standards set forth by ObamaCare (must provide the minimum benefits of a "bronze" plan bought on the ObamaCare health insurance exchange) or provide insurance that exceeds 9.5% of family income will have to pay a shared responsibility fee.
Please note that the Affordable Care Act counts the hours worked, not the number of full-time employees an employer has. If a businesses employees worked an equivalent of 50 full-time employees' hours, the requirement kicks in. In other words cutting workers hours back won't save a company from being responsible for offering health insurance to full-time workers for larger firms. Also note franchises are counted as separate businesses so franchise owners with less than 50 full-time workers wont have to provide health coverage to their full-timers.
Starting in 2014, Small businesses with up to 100 full-time employees (50 or fewer in some states) will be able to compare and buy health insurance on the exchanges for their employees. Starting in 2017, states can allow businesses with more than 100 employees to purchase coverage in the SHOP Exchange. Learn More About the ObamaCare Employer Mandate.
ObamaCare Small Business Shared Responsibility Fee (Employer Mandate Fee)
The "mandate" is really a shared responsibility fee, or tax penalty, due on an employers federal tax returns. The penalty for small businesses not covering their full-time workers is $2000 per employee. If however, at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit because coverage is either unaffordable or does not cover 60 percent of total costs, the employer must pay the lesser of $3,000 for each of those employees receiving a credit or $750 for each of their full-time employees total. The first 30 workers are excluded from being counted toward the penalty. The ObamaCare penalty offsets the cost of the employees who will use the exchange or emergency room services in lieu of employer based insurance.
96% of all firms in the United States - or 5.8 million out of 6 million total firms - have under 50 employees and Will not Be Penalized for choosing not to provide health coverage to their employees. 96% of those firms already cover full time workers. That means less than .2% of small businesses (10,000 out of 6 million) will actually have to provide insurance to full-time employees or pay the shared responsibility fee due to ObamaCare.
The Internal Revenue Service has more information about the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment.
What is a Full-time Employee / What is a Part-Time Employee
What is a full-time employee? What is a part-time employee?:
The term ‘full-time employee’ means an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week over a given month. Employers can choose a “look-back” period of between 3 and 12 months to measure if an employee has worked an average of 30 hours per week. If the worker has worked less than 30 they are defined as a part-time employee. See the official IRS page on what defines a full-time or part-time employee
What Does Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Mean? What does Part-Time Equivalent (PTE) Mean?
What does "the equivalent" of a full-time / part-time employee mean?: The Affordable Care Act's Rules for Employers often refer to businesses with 25 or 50 "full-time equivalent employees" (abbreviated FTE).
In simple terms FTE or "full-time equivalent" equals (the total number of full-time employees) plus (the combined number of Part-time employee hours divided by 30). (seasonal employees, contractors, and business owners don't count toward the total.
For example, a firm has 35 full-time employees (workers who work 30+ hours) and 20 part time employees who all work 24 hours per week (96 hours per month). These part-time employees’ hours would be treated as equivalent to 16 full-time employees, based on the following calculation:
20 employees x 96 hours / 120 = 1920 / 120 = 16
In this example, the firm would be considered a “large employer,” based on a total full-time equivalent count of 51—that is, 35 full-time employees plus 16 full-time equivalents based on part-time hours.
Business Taxes and Credits are Based off of Average Annual Wages Too
Please be aware average annual wages of employees are used along side of FTE when determining if a firm has to pay a fee or will receive tax credits.
Average annual wages are determined by dividing the total wages paid by the employer by the number of FTEs (and rounding down to the nearest $1,000).
Employers Read this Official IRS article on Determining FTEs and Average Annual Wages
In other words cutting back worker hours doesn't get larger employers out of paying the employer responsibility fee as they would still have more than 50 full-time equivalent workers. In this same respect those with less than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers can get tax credits to provide health insurance to all employees, not just full-time ones, based off of total hours and salaries and not based off of if they employ workers as part-time or full-time workers.
ObamaCare Small Business Insurance Requirements
All insurance provided to your employees must meet the minimum requirements of ObamaCare. Learn more about the essential health benefits your insurance plan must provide (all plans sold on the SHOP exchange will meet the requirements, however if you want to keep the current plan you offer it must meet guidelines.. Please note that high end insurance plans will be subject to a 40% excise tax come 2017.)
Will I Get Tax Breaks for Insuring My Employees?
Small Businesses can apply for tax breaks of up to 35% (25% for non-profits) of their contribution to employees premiums if they have fewer than 25 full-time employees. To qualify, businesses must pay for at least 50% of their employees premiums and their workers average annual wages can't be more than $50,000 a year (adjusted for inflation starting in 2014). By 2014, the tax credit amount is increased to 50% (35% for non-profit).
Example for an employer who qualifies for the maximum credit worth 50% of their premium contribution in 2014:
Number of employees: 10
Wages: $250,000 total or $25,000 per employee
Employer contribution to employee premiums: $70,000
Tax credit amount: $35,000 (50% of employer's contribution)
Tax Credits are only available on the SHOP exchange. Check out some more small business healthcare tax credit scenarios to get a better understanding of how the tax credit works.
To qualify for tax credits, insurance must be purchased on the Affordable Insurance Exchange for at least two years. Credits can be claimed on your income tax return with an attached Form 8941 showing calculations for the credit.
Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and average annual wages of $20k or less are eligible for the full 35% credit between 2010 and 2013 and then a 50% tax credit beginning in 2014.
Small business employers with over 25 full time employees will not have access to the same tax breaks as those small businesses with under 25 employees. Tax credits are available for small businesses on a sliding scale depending on the number of employees and average annual wages.
In other words, ObamaCare offers small businesses with less than 25 full time employees big tax breaks to provide quality health benefits to employees!
Employer-based plans that provide health insurance to retirees ages 55-64 can get financial help via the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program is designed to lower the cost of premiums for all employees and reduce employer health costs.
How Do You Claim the ObamaCare Small Business Tax Credit?
In order to claim the tax credit for Small Business health insurance premiums you'll need to use a Form 8941 to calculate the credit. For detailed information on filling out this form, see the Instructions for Form 8941. If you are a tax-exempt organization, include the amount on line 44f of the Form 990-T. You must file the Form 990-T in order to claim the credit, even if you don't ordinarily do so.
Starting 2014 you'll be able to claim your tax credit through the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Marketplace, explained below). For 2013 use the forms mentioned above.
If you are a small business, include the amount as part of the general business credit on your income tax return.
How the ObamaCare Small Business Tax Credit Works
Small business employer who did not owe tax during the year, you can carry the credit back or forward to other tax years. Also, since the amount of the health insurance premium payments is more than the total credit, eligible small businesses can still claim a business expense deduction for the premiums in excess of the credit. That’s both a credit and a deduction for employee premium payments.
There is good news for small tax-exempt employers too. The credit is refundable, so even if you have no taxable income, you may be eligible to receive the credit as a refund so long as it does not exceed your income tax withholding and Medicare tax liability.
Use this infographic to understand if your small business will qualify for tax credits through the SHOP marketplace. Please note that the tax break is 50% and not 35% starting in 2014.
Moving Forward With ObamaCare for Small Business in 2013
Open enrollment for individual and small business health insurance exchanges begins Oct. 1, 2013. Exchanges are probably the most important provision of health-care reform for small businesses because they will help lower costs and improve choice of plans. Businesses will use a specific part of the exchange called SHOPs.
SHOP Exchange: Small Business Health Options Programs and Purchasing Qualified Health Plans (QHPs)
Starting in 2014 small businesses employers with less than 100 employees (50 in some states) will be able to use the SHOP exchange. This is the small business section of the "ObamaCare" health insurance exchange. The SHOP exchange, or Small Business Health Options Programs, offer small businesses a large variety of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) that allows employers and employees to choose insurance that meets their budgets.
SHOP Choices. The SHOP exchanges provide side-by-side comparisons of Qualified Health Plans, benefits, costs, and quality.
SHOP Employee Options. SHOPs allow small business employers to offer workers Qualified Health Plans from several insurers, just like larger employers.
SHOP Employer Control. Small Business employers control when they participate as well as their own level of contribution towards coverage. SHOPs allow you to make a single monthly payment via SHOP rather than to multiple plans.
SHOP Affordability. SHOP can save your business money by spreading insurers’ administrative costs across more employers. Small Businesses with may be eligible for tax credits and subsidies on the SHOP exchange as well.
Small businesses will be able to apply for tax credits to cover up to 50% of premium costs of low to moderate wage employees when the SHOP marketplaces open in 2014.
Learn more about the SHOP marketplace.
Can I Purchase Insurance On the Exchange if I Have Employer Based Insurance?
You can purchase insurance on the exchange, but you will not qualify for tax breaks, credits or help on up front costs unless your employer offers substandard insurance (it must offer the same benefits as the basic Bronze plan sold through ObamaCare's exchanges / marketplaces) or if your insurance costs more than 9.5% of your income.
Since the 9.5% cap is for the employee only the total cost of a plan offered by an employer can be more than 9.5% of family income. However there is no rule that says your spouse, dependents or you will have to take the insurance your employer offers. However, you most likely will not qualify for any type of subsidies. Watch the following video on employee health insurance:
ObamaCare and COBRA
Can I still go on COBRA if I lose my job? Yes, ObamaCare doesn't affect COBRA and having COBRA will exempt you from the Individual Mandate (the tax for not having insurance).
What is the ObamaCare Small Business Medicare Tax Hike?
The Medicare part A tax is paid by both employees and employers who earn over a certain amount. ObamaCare's Medicare tax hike is a .9% increase (from 2.9% to 3.8%) on the current total Medicare part A tax. This tax is split between the employer and employee meaning that they will both see a .45% raise. Small businesses making under $250,000 are exempt from the tax. Employees making less than $200,000 as an individual or ($250,000) as a family are also exempt. Employers must withhold and report an additional 0.9 percent total on employee wages or compensation that exceed $200,000.
Small businesses making under $250,000 in taxable profit don't have to pay this ObamaCare small business tax increase. Neither do employees making less than $200,000.
Taxable income is defined as profit above and beyond expenses, tax credits provided by ObamaCare for insuring employees, tax breaks and money reinvested into the company.
This group of small businesses making over $250k in taxable income accounts for 3% of small businesses in the US.
ObamaCare means being 96% certain the ObamaCare tax increases don't negatively affect your small business, but improved health care does.
Additional Costs for Small Business: $63 Pre-existing Conditions Fee
There will be a annual fee of $63 dollars paid by small business employers purchasing insurance. The ObamaCare small business fee is decreased by a small amount each year until 2017 when pre-existing conditions are phased out. These costs may get passed onto employees. Due to tax credits, small businesses will still see a net savings, while larger firms will have more up-front costs which may get passed onto employees.
Employers With Over 200 Employees
Under the Affordable Care Act, if an employer has over 200 employees, the employer must automatically enroll new employees regardless of other coverage. New hires can then opt-out of the coverage and employers can remove them as of the effective date. If the employer has less than 200 employees, the employer does not have to automatically enroll new employees. However, the employees must be offered coverage if they meet eligibility guidelines.
New Rules for Employee Waiting Periods For Enrollment
The Affordable Care Act imposes a new limit on waiting periods for health insurance enrollment. Employers must not have waiting periods of longer than 90 days. Starting 2015 there are fines imposed for waiting periods longer than 30 days and increased fees for waiting periods of longer than 60 days, assuming the employer is "mandated" to offer full-time employees health insurance.
Summary Of Benefits and 60-day Notification
Employers must provide a summary of benefits during open enrollment (or on the first day a plan starts) and a notification to employees about any material changes to the plan 60 days in advance of any changes.
ObamaCare Small Business Facts Every Employer and Employee Should Know
About one half of the uninsured across the country are small business owners, employees or their dependents.
• More than half (56%) of people in the U.S. under age 65 receive health insurance coverage as an employer benefit.
• Defining Small Business: A small business can range from 1 to 500 employees and do millions upon millions in business. In some industries a small businesses can have up to 1,500k employees.
• Small businesses can also include hedge funds using pass-throughs and other loop-holes.
• The United States has almost 6 million small employers, 90 percent of which employ fewer than 20 people.
• Small businesses with under 25 employees benefit the most from ObamaCare.
25% of business owners are uninsured, another 50% rely on family. 60% of those who do have private insurance have incomes up to four hundred percent above the poverty level.
Small Business employees make up over half of the workforce and are the main driving force in job creation.
Over the past decade, average annual family premiums for workers at small firms increased by 123 percent, from $5,700 in 1999, to $12,700 in 2009, while the percentage of small firms offering coverage fell from 65 to 59 percent.
Obamacare will provide subsidized healthcare to 83% of small business owners who are currently uninsured.
On average, a small businesses will pay about 18% more than a larger business for the same health coverage.
Our biggest job creators (small businesses) will still go on creating jobs with high retention rates just like they do now, except they will be able to incentivise their employees with higher quality and more affordable health insurance. The head of the CBO Douglas Elmendorf said, “We don’t think that the healthcare law is having a significant impact on the economy today... It would reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by about a half a percent at the end of the decade... but, most of that is people choosing not to work because they can obtain health insurance at an affordable price outside of the workforce.”
There has been no evidence that ObamaCare will affect big business hiring practices. Obamacare actually creates jobs including a grant to create an estimated 5 million jobs in the healthcare industry.
The way U.S. income tax brackets work is that taxes are levied on marginal income. In other words, the rate applied to income earned over the $250,000 threshold is irrelevant to the first $250,000 worth of taxable income. If you have $250,010 of taxable earnings then only that last $10 is taxed at the higher rate.
As Reported By Fox News “The Affordable Care Act tackles small business owners’ top priorities when it comes to health-care reform: cost and accessibility. The law will significantly rein in costs while providing more health coverage options for entrepreneurs,” John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of the Small Business Majority, said in a statement.
So let's be clear, all of your friends, your mom and most of the people you meet on the street who work for small businesses will benefit from the new healthcare reform law. They are projected to see their healthcare costs either stay the same or decrease (taking into account the rate at which health care costs were rising independent of ObamaCare), while the quality of their healthcare and what they can offer to their employees greatly increases. Download more ObamaCare Small Business Facts.
...Hedge Funds Are Considered a Small Business
Many of the ObamaCare "small businesses" who would have to pay more are hedge funds.
Hedge funds use "pass-throughs" to qualify as small businesses by "passing" expenses "through" to investors. In other words, a hedge fund can have millions of dollars "pass-through" without it counting towards their small business status. A republican-run government would ensure that hedge funds continue to receive tax breaks and keep loop-holes open for these types of organizations.
Hedge Funds count as small businesses (due to the "pass-through" loop-hole), so when someone tells you they want tax cuts for small business, it doesn't always mean what you think.
Hedge funds, including Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, made billions of dollars from the Auto Bailout. In fact, his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion.
Although small business accounts for about 50% of private sector jobs and GDP, (Gross Domestic Product) these numbers don't start with the top 3% and trickle down. In fact, the biggest job creators and the highest job retention comes from small businesses with less than 10 employees.
Of the 5,930,132 employer firms in 2008, 79 percent had fewer than 10 employees, and 99.7 percent had fewer than 500 employees. (Medium business, although sometimes defined as small business.)
The Reality of the Mom and Pop Small Business and ObamaCare
Most Mom and Pop Small Business will not be hurt by ObamaCare. In fact, Obama's health care reform will help them to insure themselves, their families and their employees (in the current system, it's hard for Mom and Pops to provide quality benefits and many don't have health insurance at all).
What Does ObamaCare Do With Your Small Business Taxes?
ObamaCare uses taxes in combination with cuts from wasteful spending in the health care industry to help provide cost assistance in order for employers and employees to afford quality healthcare. Healthcare that can't be taken away when you are sick and coverage that can't deny you for having pre-existing conditions. It provides preventive services and a number of benefits that were not available to most folks before.
Of course, for a small business this means being able to offer your employees more attractive packages and receiving better tax breaks for doing so. For larger small businesses it means that they have to provide insurance for their employees or pay a penalty. Either way, small business is vital in providing affordable quality health care to Americans.
If you are a small business owner or if you know or love someone who has ever been sick, you need consider, not what other people think of ObamaCare, but what the program does for your business and your family. Thank you for learning the ObamaCare small business facts, please let the small business owners in your life know what ObamaCare means for them.