Obamacare repeal has failed — for now. But with Arizona small businesses still trying to navigate the ACA, to begin with, the potential for repeal is looming large — what would Obamacare repeal mean for those Arizona small businesses and what, if any, steps should they be taking to ensure that they are prepared for whatever Congress decides to throw at them? While we cannot tell you exactly how the issue of Obamacare repeal will ultimately shake out, we have been coaching clients on strategies to ensure that their company is compliant and ready based on analysis of multiple scenarios. So, let’s dig in!
How Arizona Small Businesses Should Prep for Obamacare Repeal
The current state of Obamacare repeal
One of the things adding to the uncertainty of what Obamacare repeal would definitively mean for small businesses is that it is not a binary, all-or-nothing proposition — the law could be repealed in part or in its entirety. Obamacare is complex and, as you can probably imagine, there is not a ton of agreement in Washington about which provisions of the health care law should stay and which should go in a potential repeal. Add on the fact that the efforts for Obamacare repeal in the Senate have been largely opaque — almost no one has been able to get their hands on these bills to analyze their content thoroughly before votes — and it is easy to see why many feel overwhelmed. Arizona small businesses may even be more acutely aware of the process because it was Arizona Senator John McCain who ultimately killed the most recent “skinny” Obamacare repeal attempt with his vote against it.
But while the movement for Obamacare repeal seems to have reached a certain level of stagnation, it is not unrealistic to think that the effort will be revived. Obamacare repeal is an issue that President Trump and many other Republicans campaigned on.
So what should Arizona small business do in the meantime? For now, comply with Obamacare as if nothing else is happening. It is still the law of the land and, as such, businesses are still obliged to comply with each of its provisions. Pay special attention to reporting requirements and hold tight. Also, become familiar with different elements of the law and how they impact your business (for example, employer mandate, minimum essential coverage, Cadillac Tax, etc.). That way, when Obamacare repeal is revived, you can more quickly analyze a bill for yourself knowing only which elements the hypothetical repeal seeks to keep and which it will be eliminating. Here is a look at some of the provisions impacting Arizona small businesses to get you started.
Employer and individual mandates
The employer mandate is the provision of Obamacare dictating that certain employers provide health insurance to employees or face a penalty. This is one of the provisions that is top of mind when people think of Obamacare repeal and what impacts it might have on Arizona small businesses. Indeed, if the employer mandate is lifted, some businesses may rest easier knowing that they are not obligated to provide this benefit to employees. Others might be excited to continue providing coverage, especially as it would theoretically become a more impactful talent recruitment and retention tool if competitors opted to stop providing coverage. As yet another option, some employers may choose to continue offering health insurance coverage to employees, but increase the amount that employees are expected to contribute every month or narrow the requirements for employees to be eligible (such as working 40 hours per week).
What many do not consider is the impact of the individual mandate on businesses — especially if the employer mandate remains intact. Without the penalty to individuals who do not have health insurance coverage, younger and healthier people are even less likely to enroll in a health insurance program. This means that the expense for coverage would become more concentrated on an older, unhealthier segment of the population and premiums per capita would increase dramatically. Furthermore, if you are an Arizona small business who relies on a large portion of people who opt out of coverage because the individual mandate is repealed, it is less likely that your employees will get preventative care and you may be faced with losses in terms of productivity. This will be highly variable from business to business.
Review your business and any pertinent data if you want to start thinking about how you might best react in the event that the employer mandate or individual mandate face repeal — both in concert and on their own.
If you are intimidated by the prospect of analyzing your business alone, call us up for a free consultation. We are looking forward to learning more about your and your company, then discussing which specific elements of potential Obamacare repeal you should be aware of, how they might impact you, what types of things you might consider if Obamacare repeal does happen, as well as the chance to check in to see if you are confident that you are currently complying with the health care law in its entirety.