Tuesday March 19, 2013 | 10:35 AM
Posted by Bruce Poliquin

Most of us in Maine are employed by small businesses. Providing health care for workers has become unaffordable for many of those companies.

 

The new federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is intended to lower the cost of health insurance, in part, by requiring businesses employing 50 or more full-time workers to buy health insurance for their employees, or be fined. The assumption is that health insurance premiums will drop for everyone if more people are covered, especially young healthy workers.

 

However, to avoid being forced to buy health insurance with the expensive ACA requirements, many struggling small businesses say they have no choice but to stay below the 50-worker threshold or hire part-time help. In either case, there would be fewer full-time jobs for our fellow Mainers looking for work during these very difficult times.

 

Take a look at this article from last Friday that appeared in USA Today and other newspapers around the country:  "Health care act?  No thanks; we’ll take care of ourselves."

 

An increasing number of small businesses with younger workforces that can afford to provide health care for their employees are “self-insuring” to avoid the expensive and unnecessary mandates of the new law. These companies are paying out-of-pocket for most of the normal health care costs for workers, and then buying cheaper stop-loss coverage for extraordinary expenditures such as extended hospitalization or complicated surgery. Many families follow a similar strategy by paying out-of-pocket for routine doctor visits and prescription drugs, and then by purchasing a high-deductible policy to cover expensive care for catastrophic illness.

 

Will Washington continue to allow small businesses to provide health care to their workers through this less costly self-insurance process? Or, will the federal government force these critically important employers to adopt the more expensive insurance and benefits mandated by the ACA?

 

Who knows? The new federal health care law requirements don’t begin until January 1, 2014. What we do know is that things often get overly expensive and complicated when government dictates how we must live and work.

 

About this Blog

Subscribe to the
RSS feed

About the Author

Bruce Poliquin is the former Maine State Treasurer and a 2012 Republican primary candidate for the United States Senate. He has 35 years of experience owning and managing businesses. Bruce is a proud third-generation Franco-American Mainer and Harvard University graduate. Visit BrucePoliquin.net for his most recent commentary and analysis on media outlets throughout the State about the important issues facing Maine families and their jobs.

Follow Bruce on Facebook (facebook.com/BrucePoliquin) and Twitter @BrucePoliquin.

Previous entries

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.