Many businesses said Obamacare is jacking up their employee health coverage costs, and they expect it to do so even more next year, two new surveys of businesses by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have found.
As a result, consumers in the areas covered by the bank could be paying more next year—and some workers at the firms might need to look for a new job, the surveys found.
The median respondent to the N.Y. Fed surveys expects health coverage costs to jump by 10 percent next year, after seeing a similar percentage increase last year.
Not all firms surveyed said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to blame for those cost increases to date. But a majority did, and the percentage of businesses that predicted the ACA will hike such costs next year is even higher than those that said it did this year.
More than a quarter of the manufacturing and service firms surveyed said they either have or will boost prices for goods and services "because of the effects that the ACA is having on your business," according to the bank's surveys.
About 20 percent of respondents to both surveys said they were reducing their number of workers and/or raising the share of part-time workers as a result of the ACA.
"A similar proportion said they were paying less compensation per worker because of the ACA, and a similar proportion said they were outsourcing more work," according to the bank's report.
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However, the report noted, more than half of the service firms and almost half of the manufacturers said they were not making any changes to their workforce levels, compensation levels or prices in response to those increased health coverage costs.
A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official was not immediately available for comment.
The report is based on two surveys by the bank, whose jurisdiction includes New York state, New Jersey's 12 northern counties, Fairfield County in Connecticut, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The monthly Business Leaders Survey of the same 150 or so service sector executives in that area usually garners about 100 responses each month, while the monthly Empire State Manufacturing Survey of about 200 top executives in New York state also leads to about 100 responses.
Almost all of the firms that responded—about 95 percent—already offer health coverage to their employees, even though the ACA mandates that they do so or pay a penalty doesn't start kicking in until 2015.