Under the Obamacare provision that goes into effect next year, employers with 50 or more full-time workers will be required to provide coverage for employees who work an average of 30 or more hours a week in a given month. An alternative to that mandate is for business owners to pay a $2,000 penalty for each full-time worker over a 30-employee threshold.
Rick Levi owns Consolidated Management based in Des Moines, Iowa that runs cafeterias at schools, offices and jails in 10 states. The law would require him to offer insurance to all of his 102 full-time employees starting in January. Assuming all of them take the coverage, Mr. Levi says the cost of premiums could exceed $500,000 per year if every employee takes the insurance plan. The penalty will cost him around $144,000.
"I've never made a profit in any year of the company that has surpassed that amount," says Mr. Levi, 62 years old. "I don't make enough money."
He says it makes more sense to drop insurance entirely and pay a penalty of about $144,000.