VIRGINIA BEACH -- There has been a lot of attention on the problems people have had signing up for health insurance through the new Affodable Care Act.
The new law is also having a major effect on small-to-mid-sized businesses, who have 50 or less full-time employees. They must decide whether to buy insurance that qualifies under the new law. Like individuals, many business policies did not meet the mandate requirements or send their employees to the new insurance marketplace.
While the employer mandate section was delayed until January of 2015, the reality is employers are having to make the decision now because their employees obligated to have insurance by March of next year or pay a penalty.
Shara Itzak, owner of Remedy Intelligent Staffing in Virginia Beach, says that she will cover health insurance costs for her employees. She has done the math and has determined that her Optima Health HSA plan will cost her an extra $1.50 per hour per employee under the ACA mandated changes.
However, Itzak has a role on both sides of this issue. As the owner of a contingent worker agency, many of her clients are companies which use her services to get around the legal mandate requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance for their employees. Itzak says a few of her clients are contracting her workers instead of putting them on their payrolls.
The new law is also a challenge for the 80 employees at Changes City Spa in Norfolk. Owner Norma Dorey says she's meeting with employees"in small groups. "
Dorey will renew early with Blue Cross Blue Shield to lock in the rates she has now. However, she is bracing herself for next year's prices. She's also informing the employees who may qualify for a subsidy on the marketplace. She's also not happy about the new law. Dorey says "small businesses once again are being asked to carry this burden and it's happening when the economy is still very weak." She's also planning to cut back on education for her stylists to help pay for increased insurance costs.
Some employees tell her they want to stay on her plan, worried about the government's problems with the roll out equaling to an unreliable system. However, insurance companies are moving full steam ahead dropping current plans because they do not comply with the law, forcing clients to enroll for a new plan.