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Employers Prepare For January 2014 Healthcare Changes

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) President Obama's 11,000 page Health Care Reform Bill has caused plenty of discussion in the last two years. Right now employers are trying to keep up with looming changes in providing health insurance for their employees. Here's how those drastic health care changes nation wide are set to begin in just over a year.

Once the President's health care reform bill goes into effect on January 1, 2014, businesses with 50 or more employees will be required to provide health insurance that their employees can afford.

Michelle Picklesimer, Financial Officer for South Central Community Action Partnership, says, "The individual mandate said that employers have to provide insurance that is affordable to the individual, the employee, not their families. And they calculated that at 9.5% of their income."

Picklesimer says if employers have less than 50 employees, they don't have to comply with that part of the health care mandate. She says for businesses with 25 employees or less, you can get a subsidy from the federal government that will help you provide coverage for your employees.

Trudy Dane, Employee Benefits Broker for Premier Insurance, says, "From the very beginning of when they passed it, we've had to adapt to different changes as far as how we've done our own procedures at the office to adapt to what had come down for the healthcare reform."

But Picklesimer says if individuals don't have health insurance, they'll have to pay a penalty beginning in 2014. That amount will either be one percent of their household income or 95 dollars per uninsured person, whichever is greater. She says employers who don't provide health insurance will have to pay a $2,000 fine per employee. And if the insurance isn't affordable, the employer will be charged a $3,000 fine.

Picklesimer says, "The exchange that they're setting up at the state or the federal level will have to be in effect by October 1, 2013, because they'll have to start signing up for insurance in order to have it in effect by January 1, 2014."

The health care changes are a challenge for employers, employees, and health insurance providers all across the country.

Oct. 18, 2012.


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