GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Many, including a lot of area businesses, still have questions about what the new federal health care law will mean for their insurance coverage.
Cindy Locklin, owner of Busy Bea's Services commercial cleaning, doesn't currently offer health insurance to her employees. She said it's not because she doesn't want to give her few dozen employees insurance, but rather she wasn't in a position to offer it until now.
Starting in 2015 under the Affordable Care Act -- more commonly known as Obamacare -- companies like Locklin's will be required to either provide insurance or pay a penalty and let employees get coverage on the insurance marketplace.
Locklin is looking into her options now, but is still unsure what to do and what this all will mean for her and her employees .
"Currently, we're getting quotes on health care and then I'm thinking it might be better off to let my employees go through the exchange," she said. "But when the majority of my employees are between $9 and $12, $9 and $13 an hour, can they afford to go through that?"
The Affordable Care Act, which isn't yet fully implemented, requires that individuals have minimum essential coverage. And while businesses aren't required to provide it, they will have to pay a penalty of a few thousand dollars per employee for not offering it.
Minimum essential coverage -- by law -- means insurance offering services in 10 different areas:
- Outpatient services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health services
- Prescription drugs
- Rehab services
- Lab services
- Preventative services
- Management of chronic diseases
- Pediatric services
"With health care reform, because of the new dynamics and some of the pressures, I think you're going to see more of that. You're going to see some people that say, 'Even if I want to do the best for my employees, they might be better off getting their coverage elsewhere,'" said Kirk Roy, the vice president of national health reform for Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The marketplace opens Oct. 1. There are online resources that calculate how much insurance through the marketplace will cost.
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