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Health Care Law Uncertainty Grips Small Businesses

Washington Post (03/20/13) J.D. Harrison

The implementation of the federal health care law is on the horizon, but federal regulators have yet to iron out rules for state-run insurance exchanges and qualified health insurance plans, among other things. Small-business owners are struggling with the uncertainty, bracing for a dramatic increase in premiums and the possibility that their coverage will fall short of the rules. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has issued proposals covering how firms can calculate their size to determine whether they will be assessed a penalty for failing to provide coverage, including formulas for part-time and seasonal workers, but a final rule is not expected until summer. However, a recent study by the human resources consulting firm Adecco indicates that the law has prompted close to 33% of employers to cease hiring or reduce their work forces.