As we’ve noted, the business-related requirements of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) do not apply to small businesses with less than 50 employees. However, the men and women–and their employees–who own or work at such businesses are required to purchase insurance as individuals or pay a tax or fee of about $700 per adult and $350 per child. Depending on the income of the family, the cost may be 2.5% of household or for low-income families, an exemption may be available. Bottomline, the system is complicated but many owners and employees of small businesses have come to depend on it.
One in Five Marketplace Consumers in 2014 was a Small Business Owner or Self-Employed
According to a study by the Department of Human Sources released earlier this week, independent workers (also called one-person businesses, sole proprietors, etc.) represent one-in-five of all ACA Marketplace consumers. In other works, independent workers are almost three times more likely to rely on Marketplace coverage than other workers.
1.4 million | Self-employed small business owners who were Marketplace consumers
10% | Percentage of “on-demand economy” workers got coverage through the Marketplace (2014)
Among small business owners and other independent workers, those with annual incomes below $65,000 were the most likely to rely on the Marketplace for health insurance. Middle- and lower-income Americans who buy coverage through the Marketplace are eligible for tax credits to help keep coverage affordable. About 65 percent of small business owners and 69 percent of all self-employed or independent workers have incomes below $65,000.
The 10 states with the highest percentage of small business owners relying on the Marketplace for coverage were Vermont, Idaho, Florida, Montana, Maine, California, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, and North Carolina.
The 10 states with the largest number of small business owners with Marketplace coverage were California, Florida, Texas, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Washington, and Virginia.
How long will it take for Obamacare to be replaced?
Despite the non-stop punditry by cable TV news “analysts,” no one really knows what the future holds for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. There are provisions in Obamacare that have near universal appeal (coverage for prior conditions, for example). And despite the laws and executive directives that will sound as if Obamacare has ended immediately, it will take months, perhaps years, for a new plan–or no plan–to be enacted.
Bottomline | It is doubtful that what is now Obamacare will last. It is equally doubtful that a return to no-care will happen either.