Obamacare's impact on small businesses - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Obamacare's impact on small businesses

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SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

One group being impacted heavily by Obamacare is small businesses.

When the bell rings inside Maranatha Christian Academy in Shawnee, KS, there's just one focus.

"Helping kids understand the world view that we want to teach them, Christian character, and then of course pursuing academic excellence," said Superintendent Marc Schultze.

For Schultze, the mission comes with a host of more practical concerns, like the Affordable Care Act.

"Uncertainty would sum up most of what my fear was," Schultze said.

So Maranatha partnered with Axcet HR Solutions in Lenexa, KS, to break it down.

"We show them the different scenarios," said Eric Kesselring, the vice president of Axcet HR Solutions.

Maranatha has the equivalent of 65 full-time employees, so they're required to insure those workers or pay a fine. Only companies with fewer than 50 workers can opt out penalty-free. Those workers would then find insurance through exchanges.

"Each individual would go to the healthcare.gov website and plug in their information and their household income, see whether or not they were due a subsidy of some kind against their premium and then pick among I think four different plans that they're going to have on the individual exchange," Kesselring said.

But Kesselring said small businesses won't be able to attract top talent without offering their own health plans, and it's going to cost them more.

"In small business market, the under 50, the increases are just out of control, a lot of it because of new regulations, rating structure, and things like that," Kesselring said. "Now they're talking about 35, 40, 50 percent increases."

Maranatha administrators expect their costs to go up at least $20,000, which is a tough hit for a non-profit.

"Every increase is passed on to our kids and our parents," Schultze said.

And that's not the only problem. One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is managing part-time workers, like the cafeteria staff at Maranatha. As long as they stay working less than 30 hours a week, they're not required to get health coverage.

Maranatha just expanded its food service and hired only part-time workers, specifically because of the ACA. Those in charge said they'll be watching the employees closely to be sure they stay under 30 hours.

"As we look to hire more people down the road, it will limit us how many full-time people that we can have because there's just, the overall cost has gone up," Schultze said.

It's a tough choice for a business that's also a ministry, steeped in helping the needy.

"We're going to pay our fair share, and we're going to be an employer that's committed to their employees," Schultze said.

Another note for small businesses with fewer than 50 workers. They don't have to offer insurance, but they do need to let their employees know about the healthcare exchanges by Oct. 1.

There's more information on how to do that at www.healthcare.gov.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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