Health Care for DJ Biz Owners: Historic or Hellish?

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Ushering in what’s expected to alter the way you buy health insurance, President Obama announced the passage of health care reform last night by claiming, “As a country, we can still do great things.”

When the dust settles, the legislation appears to promise some short-term and long-term relief for DJ business owners. As it stands now, according to the Obama administration, your business pays 18-percent more per worker than large firms for the same health insurance policy. A major feature of the bill will allow small businesses to pool together and bargain with insurance companies to get lower rates. Under the reform legislation, businesses are not required to offer coverage, but employers are bitch-slapped with a fee if the government foots the bill for their workers coverage. Companies with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from that requirement and won’t get bitch-slapped, although we’re still trying to confirm language in the bill that refers to cigarette burns. This will kick in by 2014.

The best news on the short term: If you employ 25 or fewer DJs and a work force with an average pay of up to $40,000, you’re eligible for tax credits to help buy insurance—like beer money from dad, up to 35-percent of the cost of the premiums this year, rising to 50 percent in 2014. Full credits will be available for the smallest businesses with the lowest-paid workers (10 or fewer employees and average yearly wages of less than $25,000); the subsidies shrink as companies’ size and average pay rise. The tax breaks—estimated to affect about 12-percent of employees covered by small-group insurance—will last for the first two years a company buys insurance through its state exchange. After that, it appears, the next round of beers are on you.

Reactions to the passage of the bill varied, of course. Business management guru and best-selling author Tom Peters said, “Wellness may be ‘the Lord’s work,’ but it’s also a peerless path toward productivity and profit. Last night, Teddy Roosevelt’s dream came true (Some things take patience).”

Club DJs, like all solo proprietors, see reason for optimism. “Experience has shown me health insurance companies will do everything in their power NOT to pay for your health care,” Shawn Christopher told us. “Anything to stop that practice has to be good.”

Or not. DJ Dave “Big D” O’Brien fears it’ll impact his rates. “I will have to wait and talk to my financial planner (Coastal Financial Advisors, Inc. ) to see how it will effect me. Once when I find out how much more I will have to pay in taxes, I may have to raise my rates to cover the added expense.”

Other DJs, like DJ Tommie Sunshine, viewed it even less optimistically. “Obama has successfully made the pharmaceutical companies who funded his election happy by passing this nonsense bill.”