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The Affordable Care Act & South Florida Businesses

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(Source: AP)

(Source: AP)

David-Sutta-600x450 David Sutta
David Sutta joined the CBS4 news team in April of 2007. As S...
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Healthwatch

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Tuesday is the day Healthcare.Gov goes live. It will be a place where you can see, compare, and buy health insurance.

While the website is a simple concept, the options are not necessarily so simple to understand.

Monday, at the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce dozens of business owners listened in to see how the changes will affect them.

Jim Brooks with the Small Business Administration explained, “The greatest thing about the small business play on this whole Affordable Care Act is they don’t have to do anything.”

As it turns out companies with 49 employees or less won’t have to pay for employee health insurance but may want to do so for the tax benefits.

We asked business owners about the notion that the Affordable Care Act is going to put small business out of business.

“I say that’s non-sense.  I think if you look into it and for small businesses that take the time to look at the facts it’s definitely a very big benefit,” Joseph Mustipher told CBS4’s David Sutta.

Mustipher’s GPS tracking company called Compass has a handful of employees.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act he says they couldn’t insure their employees.  “It really wasn’t affordable.  So it wasn’t that we couldn’t offer it, it was there, but it wasn’t there in a way that they could pay for it.  So that questions been answered.”  “Now they can pay for it,” he explained.

How will they pay for it?  Subsidies.  The insurance market is already expected to be competitively priced.  The government will pick up part of the tab though if you can’t afford it.  William Warren, owner of Benefits Design Resources, an insurance and benefit sales company told CBS4 News, “Even though the premium may be $300 a month or whatever it may be, if you are eligible for the subsidy you may end up paying $50 or $100 a month for your health insurance.”

Who is eligible for a subsidy?  Incomes up to 400% of the poverty level.  In South Florida, that means single people making less than $45,000.  If you are married, have children, the subsidy climbs.  For a family of three they could make a combined income up to $78,000 and still get a subsidy.  “The higher your income is the lower the subsidy will be and people who are the lower end of that will probably almost be paid at a 100%,”  Warren explained.

Price isn’t everything, though.   Warren has attended a handful of presentations by the insurance company.  Some offered excellent coverage options.  However, he saw one that looked terrible.  “Some of these insurance companies, the way they have been able to reduce their price is by narrowing the network.  When I say narrowing the network I mean limiting the number of doctors and hospitals,” he said.  Warren said one of the insurance companies competing is offering you the ability to go to just three hospitals in all of Miami-Dade County.  That may not be the best option.  You can talk to an insurance salesman for the best plan for you or if you feel confident to go it alone Healthcare.gov starts up Tuesday.

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