How the New AHCA Health Bill Affects Your Small Business

Last Thursday, AHCA passed by a small margin of votes. It passed so fast after a last compromise that there was no time to study the bill, nor did the congressional accounting branch assess costs and impact before it hits the public. This change would remove a huge amount of regulation: health insurance would in theory be more accessible, cheaper, and businesses would have more flexibility to provide for the needs of their employees. However, the original intention of such an expansive overhead created by the ACA was “to guarantee people in the system that their financial roof won’t collapse with one serious medical emergency.”

Business Insider provides a great example of how this might look: A company could have operations in South Carolina and Vermont. If South Carolina is granted a waiver and drops the lifetime limit on maternity care for insurance plans, the company could use that baseline to put a lifetime cap on maternity care for employees in Vermont as well.”

Ultra-small businesses might not be as heavily impacted by these changes however we might start seeing businesses with over 50 employees provide the hefty yet wide coverage that ACA demanded from businesses. It will be harder for certain small businesses to buy health coverage: this same bill also removes the tax credit available to companies with fewer than 25 employees. It is very worth noting that AHCA also bakes in a very real age tax that would force older adults to pay extremely high premiums compared to their younger counterparts.

As a small business employee or owner, here are some takeaways:

  • Businesses that rely on a core employees will be heavily impacted by a system that punishes older workers

  • The health insurance landscape is about to shift, it will probably not stop changing for a while, so buckle down.

  • Business owners will have the flexibility to drop those protections on their own volition, or keep them. Regardless, the overhead will cost them.

  • Ultimately, the coverage that ACA had previously defined as a given is dissolving: it’ll ultimately be up to business owners to protect their own employees.

Matthew Koren is the President of Swiftly Paid, a credit card processing and payroll service provider located in Portland, OR. He runs this company in addition to his management consulting practice helping clients implement innovative strategic solutions to business critical issues. You can contact him by filling out the Contact Us page, or by calling 503-765-6940.