Reno Businesses Prepare for Health Care Changes - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reno Businesses Prepare for Health Care Changes

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Almost a month after enrollment began, and still…folks are confused about the Affordable Care Act. Even Nevada's business leaders had to take quite a bit of time to figure it out. Mike Dillon's phone has been ringing for months. He's the executive director of the Builders Association of Northern Nevada (BANN). Mike told us, "We have a lot of employers that have a lot of questions for both themselves, still. They're asking for their employees, their families…everyone involved."

It's why BANN and Hometown Health set up a free information session at the Eldorado Tuesday…to help businesses understand it all. Ty Windfeldt of Hometown Health says the question he hears most from customers is about cost. Will insurance rates really go up like some people are saying? He wishes he could give them a straight answer. He told us, "Some of the changes that have been mandated from the federal government may in some cases cause the employers premiums to go up, that is true. In some instances employers will face higher premiums due to the changes in health care reform."

But not all of them. Some employees will pay less, especially those who qualify for tax credits. Federal credits are available to those making less than 400% of the federal poverty level, which is an income of $45,960 for an individual or $94,200 for a family of 4. Windfeldt says, "Those employees who earn lower, in the lower scale of the federal poverty level. They'll save more. Those employees in the higher level will save less."

The whole concept behind ACA is that if everybody is insured, that should decrease the health care cost for everybody else. But the Affordable Care Act is designed for the uninsured. Those who already have insurance wonder and worry about how this plan will affect them. About that, Mike Dillon told us, "We're not sure. There's a lot of uncertainty out there."

One thing is certain. With the new law, everyone will be eligible for insurance. Ty Windfeldt says, "Today, there could be an individual who could get turned away for insurance from carriers. Starting January 2014, they're no longer able to be turned away. They're guaranteed issue, so that's certainly a positive." Insurance companies will also have more customers, and Nevada's 577,000 uninsured will drop down to a lower number.

Like it or not, the law is on the books, and Nevada business, is moving forward with it. They do have a bit more time to get on board: beginning in 2015, those with 51 and more employees are required to insure their workers or face a fine. The health insurance deadline for individuals is March 31st of next year. The state expects 118,000 Nevadans to be covered the first year.

-written by John Potter

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