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Survey: No Change among Most Small Businesses in Wake of PPACA

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Most small businesses are not making changes or long-term plans based on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a new survey of small business owners.

eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH), the parent company of eHealthInsurance, Mountain View, Calif., published this finding in a new survey of 236 small business customers to gain insight into trends in customer behavior and sentiments about health care costs, health care reform legislation, and potential cost-saving strategies. The Small Employer Health Insurance Survey report summarizes those findings.

More than 8 in 10 (85%) of small businesses are not making changes or long-term plans based on the PPACA legislation, the survey discloses.

Beginning in 2014, PPACA 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.

Based on their size (fewer than 50 employees) none of the businesses surveyed would be required by PPACA to offer health insurance coverage to employees in 2014. However, the majority (60%) plan to continue offering coverage for their employees in 2014, the survey finds.

Among those employers who consider themselves knowledgeable about aspects of PPACA, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) say they have no plans to stop offering coverage to employees.

Small businesses are still sensitive to health care costs, with nearly all respondents (95%) citing “affordability” as one of the two most important factors when choosing a plan.

Among the report’s other findings:

Nearly eight in ten small businesses (79%) report spending $200 or more for health insurance per insured employees or dependent each month.

A majority (53%) say they require employees to contribute 10% or less of the total cost for their own or their dependents’ monthly health insurance premiums.

More than six-in-ten (61%) report that enrollee deductibles on their group health insurance plans were $1,500 or less per year

One-third of respondents (34%) say they might consider dropping employer-based group health insurance beginning in 2014.

A majority of respondents (53%) say that they always or sometimes impose waiting periods before allowing new employees to join the company health insurance plan

Additional results from the survey can be found here.