Small business owners in central Nebraska say they're feeling the pain of the health insurance tax.
Some of those owners met in Grand Island Wednesday to discuss how it could mean big costs to their companies.
Some small business owners say they're already struggling to provide affordable health care for their employees.
"We are trying to work with different policies, work with our insurance people, to come up with a policy that's reasonable," Vice President of Dramco Tool and Die Company Larry Patten says.
But Patten says they're already seeing the effects of rising costs.
"It's becoming a tremendous cost that's hidden," Patten says. "Employees don't see the increased cost, the bottom line definitely does."
The health insurance tax included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act just creates further concern, tacking on an extra $500 per year per employee.
Essential Personnel President Travis Powell says though some companies may be able to absorb that extra cost, many people won't be able to.
Powell says that could have a big impact on local, central Nebraska businesses.
"By increasing their taxes and insurance premiums because of federal legislation, that makes it harder for that local business owner to expand his businesses to hire new people," Steinbeck Insurance Agency owner Ken Steinbeck says.
Steinbeck says it's a loss for insurance companies, employers, employees and ultimately, the company's bottom line.
"You can't take away wages, that doesn't work well because then you lose people, so the bottom line just simply suffers," Patten says.
Powell says the increased costs will cause some companies to have to lay off employees.
"Our unemployment rate in central Nebraska is very low compared to the rest of the country," Powell says. "We're lucky because of that. But something like this could change that."
Not everyone agrees. Business owners with the Main Street Alliance say they've actually seen costs go down after qualifying for the health care tax credit.
But the group of Grand Island business owners, along with the Stop the HIT Coalition, hope by sharing their concerns, they'll eventually bring change to the healthcare law and repeal the pending health insurance tax, which begins in 2014.