The health care overhaul affects businesses both big and small in ways that are as wide-reaching as the law itself.
Wal-Mart, the largest U.S. private employer, expects $330 million in additional health care costs this year in part because it thinks more employees are signing up for its insurance to meet the law’s requirement that most Americans have coverage.
On the other end of the spectrum, the owner of a 1-800-Got-Junk? franchise near Philadelphia figures he’ll save money because his 12 workers now can shop for coverage on public insurance exchanges created by the overhaul.
“For an employer at my level, it’s a win,” said Eric Blum, franchisee of the junk removal service.
The Affordable Care Act, which aims to provide coverage for millions, is playing to decidedly mixed reviews in corporate America. Its impact on companies varies greatly, depending on factors such as a firm’s number of employees and whether it already provides health insurance.
Some businesses are dealing with administrative hassles or rising costs, while others worry about the law’s requirement that mid-sized and big companies offer coverage or face penalties. But the law hasn’t meant big changes for every company. And some small businesses now can offer employees a benefit they wouldn’t be able to afford without the law.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. expects a jump in its health care costs in part because enrollment in its health plan will climb by about 100,000 this year. The retailer covers about 1.1 million employees and dependents. Bill Simon, president of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, speculated last month that some new enrollees signed up because of the law.
Some companies that haven’t provided insurance are preparing for the requirement that firms with 50 or more full-time employees offer coverage or face a penalty.