The uncertainty is greatest for employers who fall close to the 50 full-time employee threshold.
In a recent floor speech advocating for a repeal of the law, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., read an email from a West Virginia daycare owner with 73 employees who could not afford the costs of health insurance.
She said if she didn't offer it and kept her current staff, she was going to have to pay $83,000 in penalties. Her other alternatives were to lay off 24 employees or close.
"I tried to help with this business owner to try to help her find solutions," Capito said. "I couldn't come up with one, because this is getting rammed down her throat no matter what."
According to the federal definition, a full-time employee is one who works 120 hours or more per month, or about 30 hours a week. That could put what some employers consider part-time workers into the full-time category.
"Most people would say that's not full time," Roberts said.
He said this definition could produce the unintended consequence of employers cutting back hours for their part-time employees to avoid being forced to offer health insurance.
West Virginia is partnering with the federal government to set up a state health insurance exchange to allow individuals and businesses with fewer than 100 employees to purchase health plans on the open market.
The marketplace concept is designed to deliver higher-benefit, lower-cost options to participants.
While the exchange could be beneficial, Roberts said open enrollment doesn't begin until Oct. 1.
But Roberts said since the exchange is not online yet, businesses are still uncertain about what kind of benefits they can get from it.
"We don't have an exchange yet, which means as employers we do not have the ability to go in yet and look at what is supposed to be a bigger marketplace," he said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.
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