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Small businesses hit by Affordable Care Act

ALBANY -- Some small businesses say the Affordable Care Act is not so affordable.

Keith Dolan of Rose & Kiernan Inc., and insurance and benefits services group, said some small businesses in New York are seeing a "sticker shock" on small business exchanges.

What used to be an acceptable insurance plan for small businesses may no longer be, Dolan said while explaining under the Affordable Healthcare Act there are new, minimum standards, to the types of insurance small businesses offer their employees.

In some cases those new standards could cost more, Dolan said.

"On those catastrophic plans, those high deductible plans, we are hearing sticker shock," Dolan said. "There is a lot of education as to why this is happening and what alternatives you have."

The higher rates are because of the new requirements but they also bring better coverage from what used to be a low standard, Dolan added.

The individual market in New York continues to be competitive Dolan said. However, despite the competition, prices in the state under the new law remain higher than other states.

A very shallow pool of enrolled New Yorkers is to blame, said Dolan.

State figures released Monday showed New York's ACA website has signed up just about 91,000 people, far fewer than the nearly 1-million the state and insurance companies projected.

The low enrollment numbers could mean higher premiums down the road, Dolan said.

"It's a law of large numbers strategy in that you are trying to spread costs across a large number so everyone is paying a little bit as opposed to a few paying a lot", said Dolan.