Lehigh Valley

Small businesses dealing with health care changes

Small businesses dealing with health care changes

NAZARETH, Pa. - Despite the continuing government shutdown, the Affordable Care Act remains in effect.

Many small businesses are concerned about what the law will mean for their bottom lines.

Jangle Advertising, Marketing and Communications in Nazareth, Northampton Co., has only seven employees, with just four of them participating in the company's health insurance plan.

Gale Hodavance has been spending lots of extra hours at her desk lately.

"Learning everything we can, spending time online reading everything the insurance company sends us," she explained.

Rather than focusing on her job at Jangle, Hodavance has been looking at health care options.  Deadlines are looming to pick new plans under the Affordable Care Act.

"So it's made it very complicated. We have to look at many more options than we always have looked at," Gale added.

Under the law, companies with fewer than 50 employees do not need to provide health insurance. Even though there are only seven people in the office, Hodavance said dropping coverage is not an option if the business wants to stay competitive. 

In order to get the best health care coverage at the best price, she's now looking at switching plans with early renewal in December or waiting until January when the plans meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  So far, Hodavance said not all the information she needs is out there.

"Makes me very nervous, and it makes my employees nervous as you can imagine," she said.

She said she feels the law puts a burden on small business owners, and every plan she's looked at comes with a cost increase.

"We're hoping to keep it between 10 percent and 30 percent, and much closer to the 10," shared Hodavance.  "I don't know that it's going to be any more affordable than what we have now."

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