I run a small architectural business and have 10 or so employees. Our health insurance has more than doubled under the new health insurance plan – and that is for plans that have triple the deductible. There is no reason to continue in business.
Was this an intended consequence of the unaffordable care act?
A firm with ten or less employees doesn't have to offer health coverage, but can get tax breaks of up to 50% of an employees premium. The ACA aims to help small businesses, not hurt them.
While group health plan costs can be very expensive recent studies show that group plans had been rising at unsustainable cost before the Affordable Care Act and are actually rising slower than before under the ACA. Leading up to the ACA more and more small business owners and employees were going without insurance contributing to the total uninsured rate and lower employee retention.
Today small businesses have the same group buying power as large businesses via the SHOP and can get great tax breaks. Still all businesses and employees struggle to afford to rising costs of premiums and the growingly unaffordable rise in cost sharing, despite new rules limiting cost sharing amounts on plans. It's no secret that the ACA covering preexisting conditions increased the costs health insurance and those costs are passed on to the consumer, but that is something that everyone (not just small businesses has to deal with).
Certainly the "affordable" care act did not set-out to make insurance "unaffordable", but for those who were benefiting from the old system we have certainly seen instances where costs went up. In some instances, for those casted aside under the old system, health insurance has become affordable and obtainable for the first time.
The bottom line: The ACA and the SHOP helps small businesses in lots of ways, but the rising cost of healthcare in America is hurting everyone (which is of course part of the reason we needed reform in the first place). Luckily as a small business you can claim those tax credits for offering a group plan on the SHOP or simply stop offering coverage and instead allow your employees to shop for insurance with cost assistance on the Marketplace on their own. Honestly, you'll probably be ensuring the best value for everyone.