According to a new Gallup poll, forty-eight percent of small businesses believe that the Affordable Care Act will negatively affect their business. The poll found that just 9% of employers said the law would be good for their businesses. The survey also found that:

  • 55% of small business owners said they expect their health care costs to increase;
  • 52% expect the law to reduce the quality of benefits they offer;
  • 41% have delayed plans to hire new employees;
  • 38% have postponed plans to expand their businesses; and
  • 18% have cut workers’ hours in order to avoid providing health coverage under the ACA.

In addition, small business owners expressed their concerns during a recent congressional hearing. Owners provided testimony stating that small businesses are concerned that the law’s new tax on insurance providers will raise premiums. Beginning in 2014, health insurers will face a new tax on the plans they sell to individuals and companies. Businesses that operate their own health insurance plans are exempt from the tax. Experts say insurance companies are likely to pass the costs of the tax directly to small businesses because most large companies self-insure and are exempt from the tax.

According to HHS data, 82% of companies with 500 or more employees run their own health insurance programs. Meanwhile, 75% of companies with between 100 and 500 employees purchase insurance from the fully insured market.