Businesses feeling impact of Affordable Care Act

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Obama Administration has given businesses an extra year, until January of 2015, before they'll have to provide health insurance for their workers under the Affordable Care Act. The Act is intended to provide health insurance for everyone and reduce healthcare costs. But some local businesses say their expenses are already going up even though the requirement to provide insurance has been delayed.

At the Mechanicsville Drug Store, pharmacist Tommy Thompson expects to fill more prescriptions, but also to lose some revenue.

"It's actually going to increase our business. Now the fees are going to go down," explained Thompson.

As more patients will be covered by Medicaid, he fears he'll collect less in fees. "They're down to nothing now and they're going to below your costs," said Thompson. "You can stand a little bit of that, but you can't stand but so much of that."

The Act requires any business with at least 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance. That's now been delayed from January 2014 to January 2015. But the National Federation of Independent Business fears it will discourage small businesses from hiring.

"They might hesitate to hire a new employee or employees, or they might make more of their employees part-time so that they do not exceed the 50 employee threshold," said NFIB President Dan Danner.

Some businesses say they're already seeing insurance premiums rise. "There is likely to be a significant premium increase for most people as we get into next year," Danner said.

And despite the employer mandate delay, the Act's new taxes are already hitting other industries, such as the finance industry and investors.

Tax Attorney Kevin Brandon at Hirschler Fleischer published an article in Hedge Fund Intelligence, pointing out that some investment fund managers will have to pay the net investment income tax of 3.8% on their income.

Brandon explained, "They're going to get a piece of what the underlying fund makes. That's gong to be interest, capital gains, dividends. Because of that, their share of net investment income is going to make up most, if not all, of their adjusted gross income. So they're going to be hit pretty hard by this."

Married couples who's adjusted gross income is more than $250,000 will also pay the tax on capital gains.

"That's what we're talking about, capital gains, rent, royalties, dividends, interest," said Brandon.

While the employer mandate now takes effect in 2015, other taxes like the health insurance sales tax, the prescription drug tax, and the medical device tax all still take effect in 2014.

The House just passed a bill to also delay the requirement that individuals have health insurance, but the Senate is not expected to pass it. That means that individuals who do not have insurance next year, will be charged fines starting at $95.

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