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Smallest businesses to continue healthcare

March 25, 2012 at 1:14 AM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 25 (UPI) -- Eighty-five percent of U.S. small businesses are not making changes or long-term plans based on healthcare reform legislation, a survey indicated.

The survey, by eHealth, an online source of health insurance information for individuals, families and small businesses, was conducted anonymously online from Feb. 10 to March 13 from a total of 236 small businesses that had purchased group health insurance policies through eHealthInsurance.com, the parent company of eHealth.

Beginning in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires businesses with the equivalent of 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance coverage for their workers. However, businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from this requirement, although employees may be required to purchase their own coverage.

EHealth's Small Employer Health Insurance Survey focuses on these small businesses, many of them family-run. Eighty-eight percent of the small businesses responding to the survey had 10 employees or fewer.

Based on their size, none of the businesses surveyed would be required by the Affordable Care Act to offer health insurance coverage to employees in 2014.

However, 60 said they plan to offer coverage for their employees in 2014. Most employers said they felt they have a moral obligation to provide health insurance for employees or feel they need to continue to do so in order to recruit and retain talented workers.

Nearly 80 percent of the businesses report spending $200 or more for health insurance per insured employees or dependent each month

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