When Eric Tetler's insurance broker told him the health care premiums for his small business were going up 19% in 2014, Tetler feared he'd have to send his employees to the new health insurance exchange to buy their own coverage.
That was with a Dec. 1 renewal date, which meant the plan wouldn't have to comply with the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which take effect Jan. 1. He could have moved his renewal to Jan. 1 so the policy would be ACA-compliant, but that would have meant a 29% increase, says his broker, Tom Harte. Tetler's recycling and refining company, which employs more than 50 people, won't be required to provide an ACA-compliant plan until 2015.
Tetler stuck with his Dec. 1 date, sent his father and father-in-law — the company's founder, no less — to Medicare and raised employees' deductibles by $1,000 a year. That kept his premium about the same as this year's.
But his employees won't benefit from the ACA provisions that take effect Jan. 1, such as fully covered physicals. Tetler has mixed feelings about that. He sees benefits to what the ACA aims to accomplish, but thinks it comes at too steep a cost.
"Even though I may be for health reform in some manner, this is all wrong," says Tetler, president of Windfield Alloy in Atkinson, N.H. "At some point as a company owner, I will need to say no more and drop our health plan altogether and be confronted with losing valuable employees."