Mt. Vernon Register-News

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August 22, 2013

Health law a big concern for area businesses

(Continued)

Much of the discussion Wednesday centered around how to qualify for the law's small business tax credit and how to avoid penalties under the new coverage mandate.

In general, the tax credit is available to businesses that employ fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees whose average annual wages are less than $50,000. To qualify, businesses also have to pay for at least 50 percent of their employees' self-only premium costs.

The coverage mandate mainly affects businesses with 50 or more employees. To meet the mandate, businesses have to offer coverage to at least 95 percent of their full-time employees and the coverage has to be “affordable” and provide “minimum value.”

During his presentation, Foldenauer fielded questions on a variety of subjects, many having to do with how to count and categorize employees to comply with the guidelines.

After the workshop, several audience members said they were grateful for the chance to learn more about the complex new health care law.

“I found it very informative and I was happy to see some of the resources that (were) provided for further education,” said Sheila Jolly-Scrivner, administrative assistant at Mt. Vernon Outland Airport.

Short said he wished there were longer courses available on this subject.

“I think the topic's way too expansive to cover in two hours,” Short said. “It's worth having. I just think it should be a two-day, eight-hour course as opposed to a one-day, two-hour course.”

Gwen Norton, human resource manager at Com-Pac International in Carbondale, was also happy to attend the workshop. However, the impact of the Affordable Care Act has her very worried.

“As an employer, there's a lot of concern,” Norton said. “The insurance, in general, is skyrocketing. I mean, we just received a 50 percent rate increase. So for us to cover that increase alone, we have to increase our sales by $4 million.”

For more information on the law, visit www.healthcare.gov.

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