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WJBD - Local News - Affordable Care Act Seminar Draws a Bottom Line for Employers

Affordable Care Act Seminar Draws a Bottom Line for Employers

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

An Affordable Care Act seminar hosted by Salem Township Hospital and the Salem Chamber of Commerce at the Bryan Bennett Library was an attempt by organizers to shed some light on the looming health care reforms set for January 1st. Salem Township Hospital President Stephanie Hilton-Seibert was joined by Keith Krohe of Crossroads Insurance Services and Attorney David Schellenberg, a partner with the firm of Elias, Meginnes, Riffle, and Seghetti based out of Peoria. 

A host of local business owners were in attendance, hoping to discover what the Health Care Law commonly known as "Obamacare" means for them. To many, it means a burden, others are not quite sure what to make of it, including Schellenberg, who says the law is too complex for him or anyone to fully understand.

"I am not a big fan of this law. Sometimes when laws are passed and I think later 'well that wasn't so bad'. This one? I'm having a hard time with" Schellenberg said.

Schellenberg says that Illinois employers are going to be faced with several big choices in regards to how they cover employees. One major change is that "Large Employers" must be able to cover 90% of full time employees or face a $2,000 or $3,000 dollar per employee per year tax for each uninsured employee. Large employers are defined as employers who have 50 or more employees. Employers may choose to take the $2,000 per employee tax and allow their employees to instead shop for subsidized insurance on online health insurance marketplaces, with Illinois recently announced marketplace opening on October 1st.

The bottom line, according to Schellenberg, is that employers will be paying more. He used an example from one of his clients, a nursing home.

"I've got a nursing home with about 3,000 employees, and they don't make that much money. So we're trying to figure out if we have to pay the $3,000 dollar tax on them, and now we have to cover everybody down to 30 hours a week" Schellenberg said, "So we cut back on some of them to under 30 hours a week. It'll get [the nursing home] out of the woods--sort of by screwing the people."

The Individual Mandate section of the Affordable Care Act goes into affect on January 1st. Anyone who does not have health insurance by 2014 will be forced to pay an extra tax.

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