The Main Stream

Aug 28, 2013 8:19 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Forum gets small businesses up to speed on Affordable Care Act

TUCSON - A health insurance forum brought small business owners up to speed on the Affordable Care Act, which aims to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance.

The law was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama and requires insurance companies to cover all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Crowds of small business owners listened intently at the Doubletree Hotel near Reid Park about how employers can brace for the new changes in providing health insurance.

"Our objective was to lay out some facts and get people the information they need about making those important choices for providing health insurance for their employees," said Jean Tkachyk, the Chief Operations Officer for Meritus, which hosted the forum.

The Affordable Care Act will require many small businesses - with more than 50 employees - to provide health insurance for their full-time employees. However, some shops are scaling those positions back to more part-time slots to skirt the law.

"As I understand it, some larger employers are trying to reduce their count so they can be in those ‘50 or fewer' so they wouldn't have to be subject to the rules," Tkachyk said.

Dorothy Kret runs a small business aimed at helping people seek employment. She sees certain benefits of opting into the program.

"Under the Affordable Care Act I have fewer than 25 [employees]... I don't have to provide healthcare. On the other hand, if I don't - what happens to my staff who are currently getting it? They're out of here and they'll go find somebody who does provide it," Kret said.

"It's critical. It's very important."


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