Affordable Care Act isn’t, businessman says

Pg25 klienschmidt photo
Mark Kleinschmid

By Kathy Canavan

Pete Renzi says insurance rates have gone up so much since the Affordable Care Act that it’s kind of funny that they still call it the Affordable Care Act.

It’s becoming less and less affordable, and it’s probably the most important benefit to your employees,” said Renzi, director of operations for I.G. Burton’s six dealerships. “I hate pushing more of the cost onto the employee. The last couple years we’ve increased our costs but we’ve also had to share some of that with our employees.”

Businesses are receiving quotes that are 30 to 50 percent higher than last year, and, in some cases, double.

“Small business owners were absolutely not considered in this whole changeover of Obamacare,” said Mark Kleinschmidt, president of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. “Bottom line: It’s increased costs and caused great confusion.”

Mark Kleinschmidt said chamber members are definitely shopping around, but there really are not a lot of options because the law mandates certain coverages.

He said the most frequent comment he hears from business owners is “This doesn’t make any sense.”

Kleinschmidt said the premiums are so high that many owners are tipping toward dropping insurance as a benefit, even after even after calculating the costs of government penalties and the cost of giving employees some money in lieu of the benefit.

“When they see the price has gone up so much, a lot of them are making that hard decision: ‘Look, this doesn’t work for us,’ ” he said. “They want to do the right thing, but it’s become so complicated and costly that it really just pushes people out of the market. It’s a disincentive for small business to provide health insurance. It then hurts the small business because they can’t compete for employees.”

Judy Diogo, president of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce, said she hasn’t heard of many small business owners dropping insurance but they are looking for ways to balance the large increases in costs.

“I know some of our businesses are looking to the employee to pick up some of the cost. The cost sharing is going to change. They can’t carry what they’re carrying.”

“Some of them may have to cut some of their employees so they don’t have as many full-time people,’’ she said. “Some people are saying they had 32 percent increase, some are saying 47 percent. You can’t sustain that kind of expense and sustain yourself.” 

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