Local businesses work to adapt to the Affordable Care Act

Updated: 12/12/2013 11:19 PM
Created: 12/12/2013 10:54 PM WHEC.com

It's been months since open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began and as we all know by now, it has not been a smooth ride so far.

We wanted to know how businesses in our area are pushing through the changes. This transition has definitely been a learning curve for employers and employees, but what's making it so difficult is 1.) this is so new and 2.) experts say the information seems to be changing all the time.

News10NBC learned local businesses are working hard to understand the reform, many are even bringing in extra help.

Business owners knew it was coming and they knew change was inevitable. That's the main reason why Jeff Welcher of Benecare is helping many local companies transition under the Affordable Care Act.

Welcher says, "Meetings between me and a business owner or CFO that used to take 45 minutes can now take hours at least."

Welcher says the workload has been a bit frustrating so far, but it varies, by business.

He tells us, "It gets complex with the under 50 over 50 mark in terms of full time equivalence. Working with employer groups that have variable hour employees, seasonal employees, this has become more of a challenge."

Vnomics in Pittsford has had their hands full with 60 employees full of questions.

"What is this marketplace and what does it mean for us?" says Vnomics office manager Michelle Hayes. "What are the options? Are there better options for us than what you are offering to me?"

So Hayes decided to take a pro-active approach, conducting learning sessions for all employees and making sure everyone is on the same page.

She says, "Understood what everything on the form meant, understood all of the things that were changing and also understood what the company does. How the company contributes to medical insurance?"

Welcher says many businesses have been pushing through the changes, using education as a tool and moving forward. He is hoping for one more "affordable" change.

He says, "Slowing down some of the rate increases that I need to discuss with my clients. I think that's where the most frustration is. On the surface, and in the short term unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act does not impact affordability in most circumstances."

New York is within a small group of states that has set up it's own website. So that has also helped, keep the transition smooth, instead of the federal website that has received a lot of scrutiny since it launched.

Health coverage for New York State will be effective on January 1, but individuals have until March to enroll.

If you have any further questions, you can click here for more information.


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