First Friday Crowd Hears About Affordable Care Act

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Published on August 3 2012 7:32 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Understanding the Affordable Care Act is seen by some as something akin to eating an elephant; you have to digest it one bite at a time.

The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce tried to start the digestion phase at Friday's Chamber First Friday Luncheon.  Laura Minzer, Director of Policy for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce is also the Executive Director of the State Chamber's Healthcare Council.  Minzer blew through a mountain of information on what some term "Obamacare".  There's so much information to absorb that Effingham County Chamber President Norma Lansing has invited Minzer to return to make a longer-form presentation after the first of the year.

Minzer said employers with fewer than 50 employees will have much more flexibility as far as complying with the Act; those with more than 50 employees will have more obligations.  She said items such as annual limits or lifetime limits or lengthy waiting periods before gaining coverage will be tough to retain.

Minzer also discussed the exchanges designed to help facilitate the coverage.  She said if a state level exchange is not ready by the deadline imposed by the legislation, that state will default to a federally mandated exchange. 

Minzer also reported that there will be different tiers of coverage available.  Her belief is that younger healthier individuals will want less coverage and that older less healthy people will want more coverage.  She said the bottom line remains: each person must have coverage or pay a penalty.