“Every individual out there is going to have to do a lot of work to be able to understand the different options being offered to them and what it is going to cost them,” Lloyd said.
She said all businesses have had to become steeped in the requirements associated with the Affordable Care Act, and that has taken time away from other activities, such as marketing products, meeting with customers and doing the things businesses do to remain profitable in order to continue to provide jobs.
Lloyd said it remains to be seen whether the insurance premiums offered by the exchange will cost less or more than the health coverage that workers can get now from employers who offer it.
“We have no idea because the exchange hasn’t opened yet,” she said.
Those eligible for subsidies available for lower income consumers could end up paying significantly less than others for the same tier of health care benefits than those with higher incomes. Lloyd said if the consumer’s employer offers coverage now, the subsidy will not be offered unless the cost of the insurance exceeds 9.5 percent of the consumer’s total income. Employers won’t be able to help their workers figure out if they are eligible for the subsidies because the employers do not know whether their workers are generating income from other sources, she pointed out.
The Affordable Care Act also requires large employers, defined as those with more than 50 workers, to offer health care plans. However, the enforcement of that part of the program has been postponed by the Obama administration until Jan. 1, 2015. Only six percent of large employers offer no health insurance, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
On the other end of the workplace spectrum are such small family-run businesses as HaSu Ranch in East Meredith, where Hazen Reed and his wife, Susan Muther, raise alpacas.