Businesses Prepare for Obamacare

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it's been commonly called, will be going live January 1st of next year. 23 News reporter Landon Cassman looked into what local businesses are doing to prepare for the change.

For the past six months, Christina Kamer's phone has been ringing off the hook.

Business owners have been calling for advice on how they should best prepare for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, when it goes into effect next January.

"What I'm trying to do is not only understand the provisions of the law, but also to identify resources that may be helpful to the business owners who don't have the time to, you know, do the research on their own," said Kamer.

Kamer joined a crowd of about 50 business professionals this morning to hear a presentation by Senator Dave Syverson about Obamacare. Senator Syverson serves on the legislative commission in charge of implementing the law in Illinois.

"It is going to drive up costs, unfortunately and it may limit some healthcare. But in the end, our job is to try to make the best of this bad situation,” said Syverson. One business owner came out of the presentation having a better idea of his plan going forward.

"Well I went to the meeting, like I said, concerned about how it impacted our business,” said Andy Benson, owner of Benson Stone Co. “And kind of came away feeling with the level of coverage we provide, that maybe it doesn't have a real big impact on our business at this point."

However, changes are still expected to come, and businessmen must keep their ears open.
Human Resource Consultant Christina Kamer says the best thing for businesses to do right now is work with their benefit providers and human resource department to hammer down what they must provide come January.

There's still a lot of questions about the act, so here's a look at some of the provisions. Starting January 1st, 2014. Employers who have 50 or more staff members must provide them insurance or face a penalty. In fact, everybody must have health insurance or pay a penalty. To make that easier, the bill requires states to come up with an insurance exchange. Illinois’ exchange will be online October 1st.

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