If the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented this year, health care costs for businesses with up to 100 employees would have decreased by 1.4%, and the rate of U.S. residents with employer-sponsored coverage would have risen by 2.7%, according to a new Urban Institute study, Kaiser Health News' "Capsules" reports.
The study found that the ACA would decrease costs-per-person for businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers by 7.3% (Carey, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 10/9). The report noted that small businesses would benefit from tax credits and purchasing efficiencies created by the ACA.
Overall, about four million more employees would have had employer-sponsored insurance if the law had been fully implemented.
"[T]he evidence simply does not support critics' arguments that the ACA will burden employers and undermine employer-sponsored health insurance," the authors wrote, adding, "[T]he ACA benefits rather than burdens small employers who want to provide health insurance."
Higher Costs for Mid-Size, Large Businesses
Mid-sized businesses -- those with between 101 and 1,000 workers -- would have experienced a 9.5% increase in their total health care costs if the ACA had been fully implemented this year, according to the study. Meanwhile, firms with more than 1,000 employees would have seen a 4.3% increase in total health care costs.
The higher costs for mid-sized and large employers mostly can be attributed to the expanded coverage and increases in enrollment, according to the report.
The report noted that since mid-sized companies are less likely to offer health benefits than large firms, they would have to pay more penalties (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 10/8).