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Tempted to hire temps? It may not cut health care cost (access required)

By Caitlin Coakley Business owners who think they have spotted a sweet little loophole in the recently passed health care reform law should beware: That loophole may be too complicated to exploit. Under the formally titled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from fines for not providing insurance to their workers. So this solution looks tempting: Hire temporaries to replace full-time employees, and thus stay under the exemption limit. “You can imagine these little games that businesses will play when they’re right on the fringes,” said Harry Bowen, the W.R. Holland Chair of International Business and Finance at Queens University. “Say (a business) had 60 people. Now I have an incentive to get rid of 11 people, and to hire 11 people who are temporary so that I’m now under the 50-employee rule.”

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