Second you have this "penalty" to employers of over 49 employees. If you read the fine print, the $2k penalty doesn't apply to all of your employees. If I recall correctly, you are only penalized on the number of employees above the threshold. Therefore, if you have 80 employees, you can choose to pay a 2k penalty on 80 - 49= 31 employees for a total of $62k, or you can pay the employer portion of a plan which on the low end is going to be $225/month and can be as much as $1200/month. $225/month x 80 employees x 12 months =$216,000
You are mistaken about the penalty applying only to the number of employees over 49.
It applies to the number of employees over 30.
" Penalties For Failure To Insure
For firms which do not offer insurance any insurance, have more than 50 employees, and have at least one employee receiving insurance subsidies, they must pay a tax of $2000 per subsidized employee. The tax is applied to all of a firm’s employees (after excluding the first 30)
, not just those that are subsidized. For example a firm with 51 employees would pay $42,000 in new annual taxes, and an additional $2,000 tax for every new hire." LINK
"Penalty for Companies Not Providing Insurance to Employees
If a company with 50 or more employees provides no insurance to its employees or the insurance provided is substandard or too costly, there is an additional penalty to the company. The penalty is stiff: $2,000 times the number of employees, with a 30-employee offset
. This penalty will apply if even one employee goes outside of the company-offered plan to an insurance exchange for coverage." LINK