The employer mandate is a crushing burden on medium-sized businesses:
Office manager Deb Levy estimates she’ll have to spend about 40 to 60 hours filling out the Internal Revenue Service’s 1095-C form for every person employed by the company over the course of the year.
“It’s tedious,” she said. “It’s ridiculous … You are guessing at what codes you need to use.”
The employer mandate, one of the most controversial aspects of President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 law, requires employers to offer health insurance to workers who put in at least 30 hours per week or pay a fine. It applied at the beginning of the year to employers — including businesses, nonprofits and public entities such as municipal governments and school districts — with the equivalent of 100 or more full-time workers, and will be extended Jan. 1 to those with the equivalent of 50 to 99.
Businesses of this size represent a relatively small but critical part of the Lehigh Valley’s employer makeup, accounting for 3 percent of total businesses but 12 percent of jobs, including a disproportionately high number of manufacturers, according to Bethlehem economist Kamran Afshar.
About 250 such businesses belong to the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, or about 5 percent of the organization’s membership.
“They are very valuable,” Afshar said. “[They] are really the engines of growth.” [Emphasis added]
Something’s going to have to give next year, when the mandate reaches down to businesses with as few as 50 employees. An average of 50 hours of additional paperwork per worker for a company with 50 workers is an increase of 2,500 work-hours — or nearly 63 weeks worth of new makework.
That’s an extra employee or two, for every medium-sized business in the country, sucked out of the productive economy and forced into filling out forms for Uncle Sam.
It isn’t just health insurance the Affordable Care Act is making more expensive.