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Health care act has business owners scrambling

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 27 2013 10:03:28 AM CDT

Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act starts in less than a week.

Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act starts in less than a week.
And that has some business owners scrambling to figure out what they need to do for their employees.

What businesses are required to do depends on how large they are.

But bottom line: the ACA will likely impact everyone.

At the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Health Care Summit, business owners are eager for information about the Affordable Care Act.

"People are really nervous about number one, making sure that they get access for themselves, their families and their employees, but also playing by the rules," said Michelle Griffin Young with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Right now, the rules are small businesses with up to 50 employees are not required to provide health insurance.

But if they do provide it, they could be eligible for tax credits.

Larger businesses with 51 or more employees must offer health insurance by 2015 or face fines.

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine says summits like this are important to keep the business community updated on changes in the law.

"We have already seen the feds change some of the application of the law leading up to October 1st here, so I think we have to be prepared for some of these other time lines," said Consedine.

Consadine says everyone -- including businesses -- should shop around and compare plans before they make a purchase.

The ACA eliminated a lot of the criteria insurers used to determine eligibility, including pre-existing conditions.

"Frankly most rates will rise a little bit. Because insurers now have to take everybody regardless of their conditions," said Tom Huntzinger with Emerson & Reid.

Part of that shopping around means reading the fine print.

Some things most insurance plans covered this year will likely change next year.