American businesses are in a holding period of uncertainty because of Obamacare.
That’s the message Larry Patterson, owner of a glass-repair franchise in Dallas, delivered at The Heritage Foundation earlier this week.
Speaking on a panel about rising insurance costs under Obamacare, Patterson explained how his business is facing the prospect of a huge hit. If he renews with his current provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, in February, Patterson will face a 72 percent increase in his insurance premium. If he renews before the end of the year, the increase will be 23 percent.
“When you compound that with the fact that our insurance has gone up a lot since 2010, the increase is somewhere around 200 percent when you kick into what the 2014 premium will be,” Patterson explained. “How many increases can we sustain?”
Patterson is not alone. According to new research from Drew Gonshorowski of Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis, Obamacare exchange premiums are rising in all but five states. In some cases, costs are skyrocketing.
“With the data we have, it is putting it mildly to say that the Obamacare exchanges are in for troubling times,” Gonshorowski said at Heritage’s event.
Patterson said the premium increases under Obamacare have made providing competitive benefits to his employees more challenging.
“Because of the provisions of the [Affordable Care Act], after 10 years of offering group coverage to our employees, most likely, our best option for our employees is going to be to drop coverage,” Patterson said. “That makes me mad.”
The rising cost of health insurance is forcing him to make difficult business decisions, too.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” he explained. “Therefore, that money that I might have available to invest and grow my business, I don’t know if it is going to provide me with a return on investment or not.”
He added, “The uncertainty has affected our growth in the past and hiring new employees.”