Small Businesses Struggle With Obamacare

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Just when business owners were getting used to President Obama's health care law, the government goes and changes the rules, leaving more uncertainty and stifling business growth.

Last week the Treasury Department said it would delay the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements by one year to January 2015.

Treasury says after listening to concerns from businesses, it plans to "simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law." The postponement will also "provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees," it said in a July 2 release.

Small-business owners and franchisors have been scratching their heads since the law's passing in 2010 to figure out how it would affect them and how to implement a rather confusing set of regulations.

According to a Newtek Business Services' June small business survey, more than half of the 1,000 respondents said they didn't know how to prepare for the upcoming health care reform changes.

Of the remaining, 24% plan to reduce benefits to employees, while 13% plan to rebid their policy and 11% plan to reduce business expenses, the monthly survey found.

At the basic level, a year delay does give some breathing room, particularly to businesses that have never had to provide coverage before.

Bill Rue Jr., president of Rue Insurance, a fourth-generation family-owned insurance brokerage, says the delay is positive for small businesses, such as those that depend on seasonal hires.

"We've had some clients that are very relieved because they have employees that have never had coverage before that would now have to have coverage," Rue says. "There's more time to offer some guidance and figure this out, but again it's an example of federal government setting up something that some states have opposing regulation and in the rush of trying to get this ready ... we have to put it on hold."