Nearly 150 business leaders attended the Chamber’s “Affordable Care Act Briefing” on July 26 at the Town Point Club in Norfolk. Speakers Joanne Grossi, Regional Director, U.S. Health & Human Services Region III, and Erica Dowell, Outreach Manager for the Small Business Majority, provided an overview of the Affordable Care Act and discussed with the crowd how it will impact small businesses.
Joanne Grossi said, “Our common goal is that all Americans have prosperous healthy lives.” Currently 51 million uninsured Americans and $2.6 trillion is spent on healthcare annually. Grossi explained that the Affordable Care Act is designed to rein in insurance premium rates; prevent denials of coverage, including for pre-existing conditions; make health insurance affordable for middle class families; make health insurance affordable for small businesses by offering tax cuts; provides coverage to young adults up to age 26; strengthens Medicare benefits with lower prescription drug costs for those in the “donut hole,” chronic care and free preventive care; prohibits plans from imposing lifetime and annual limits on the dollar value of benefits, and from rescinding coverage when you get sick. View presentation.
The Small Business Majority, an advocacy organization founded and run by small business owners, is focused on outreach to and education for small business owners across the country. Erica Dowell explained the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will impact small businesses: provides immediate tax credits for most small businesses, provides immediate access to a Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan for the self-employed, establishes a competitive marketplace for small businesses and the self-employed. Dowell went into detail about the tax credits, saying, “102,600 Virginia small businesses are eligible for a credit.” State health insurance exchanges are coming in 2014 in the form of a one-stop shop web portal. The exchange will pool small businesses which will increase their buying power. Insurance will still be sold outside of the exchange. Dowell also explained that businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees – 96% of all businesses – are exempt from any requirement to offer insurance. View presentation.
The presentations were followed by a question and answer session. Thank you to sponsors Optima Health (Presenting) and Town Point Club (Host).