Though concerns about the cost of health care still abound among small businesses the expansion brings relief to most people. Some stipulations of the Affordable Care Act have already begun to broaden access to health care.
"People between the ages of 18 and 26 can stay on their parent's plan for insurance," said Kathie Petrie, a registered nurse and Branch Manager at Recover Health, an in-home health care provider.
The main benefits will roll out beginning of next year - The Siouxland Chamber of Commerce held a conference to help local companies learn more about the benefits of the new law.
"What businesses are faced with in light of this new act is whether to keep their current health care policy or drop their health care policy and leave their employees to buy insurance on the exchanges," explained Siouxland Industrial Roundtable Chairman, Dirk Lohry.
"I really believe if people don't think our health care system is broken, that they're not paying attention," added Petrie.
"I think people understand that the law is here and it's here to stay," said Innovative Business Consultants President, Stuart Lee. He has been consulting with clients on the changes and knows that the system will come with a cost.
"You can't add all these services without a cost. I read a report today that estimated some insurance plans will go up 400%," Lee said.
The major mandate of 2014 is the 'Play or Pay' provision, this requires companies which employ more than 50 workers, to pay health cover for employees. At times small businesses bear the brunt of the health covers. Part time worker coverage requires businesses to offer health care to all employees who work more than 29 hours per week or face a fine.
"I've had an employer that has over 100 employees that doesn't offer insurance and he said the fine that he'll get is basically his profit, so why would he even stay open," Lee pointed out. "We could be a nation of part time workers. Working 28 hours at one job, and 18 at another," explained Lee.
Advocates point out that the affordable health care act will give every American worker more security, better access, and overall better health, something that Petrie has already started to see.
"The general broader access of individuals who have, for one reason or another, been excluded, from the system, whether due to cost or employer choice, or preexisting condition. I think that's the whole purpose of the affordable care act, to get more people covered," she explained.
Lee expects individual premiums for those purchasing on the open market and not through an employer to also increase 200% to 400%.
Kristen Johnson, 15th May 2013
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)