Home Money Business owners not concerned over ACA requirements

Business owners not concerned over ACA requirements

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Last week on Oct. 1, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, officially went into effect as the health care marketplace opened and people began the process of getting covered. 

Under Obamacare, every individual has to be insured, or they will face a tax payment. That rule goes for businesses as well. Not all employers are required to offer health care to their employees and dependents, but face a tax if they do not comply  with the new law. Businesses with more than 50 full-time employees are required to provide health insurance for all employees.

Most small businesses in Athens have less than 50 full time employees. But after talking to several of them, it is evident that they are very matter-of-fact about the new health insurance requirements.

“We only have three full-time employees and ten part-time employees, so we aren’t really worrying about the health care thing, but it would be cool if we could figure out a way to offer it,” said Joe Cockerell, Manager of Fusion Noodle Company.

The steps companies have to take to get health insurance for all of their employees is more difficult than just making sure they do not go over more than 50 full-time employees, said Art Oestrike, owner of Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery.

Athens business owners agree that Obamacare is not hurting their small businesses. It is now something they have to be conscious of, but not worry themselves over.

“If you think the company you are working for needs to provide your health insurance, or tell you your options, it can’t hurt to ask your employer the question,” said Wendy Jakmas, president of Athens Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ohio University, the largest employer in the city of Athens, sent student employees an email describing their health care options on Oct. 1. OU offers student employees the option to sign up for the plan from United Health Insurance, which they offer to students who are not covered when they come to school. In order to attend Ohio University, students have to be insured. This step has helped with the students who are also employed uptown.

“We have noticed that most of our employees are already covered because we have such a high amount of students working for us, so that takes away some of the pressure to get everyone insured as well,” Oestrike said.

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