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Affordable Health Care Act Will Impact Businesses and Residents

WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WGGB) — Recent changes in the Affordable Health Care Act have added even more confusion to the looming implementation of health care reform.

Many are left wondering how the new laws will directly affect their pocketbooks.

Like any business owner, Antonio Liqori is feeling the pinch of higher health care costs.

Business owner, Antonio Liqori told us, “Right now it’s 4 of us and we pay $2,400 a month so it’s kind of expensive then you go see the dentist and you need a root canal or a crown and it’s very, very expensive.”

And with the Affordable Health Care Act looming many are wondering just how affordable staying healthy will be.  Business owners recently got a reprieve from a federal mandate ordering them to offer health care to by the first of the year.

Joe Lawler with the Gaudreau Group says, “Just before the Fourth of July the treasury department came out and said the employer mandate which imposed penalties on employers did not comply with the regulations and that penalty phase has been pushed off for a year.”

Employers may be getting a break but the deadline for you and I to get health insurance stays.

“The individual mandate that requires all individuals beginning on January 1, 2014… they still have to be able to assure that they have coverage,” notes Lawler.

And that means even small business owners and their employees will still need proof of coverage.

“By the time you pay your tax, your mortgage, people think you got a lot of money.  It’s not the way it is. You spend 14 hours a day behind the counter and hope for one day off a week,” says Liqori.

Joe Lawler told us Massachusetts might be better prepared than most states for the coming insurance mandate.

“It doesn’t impact us in Massachusetts as much as some other states because in Massachusetts the uninsured rate the percentage of the population that doesn’t have insurance is less than 2 percent,” explains Lawler.

And he says the uncertainty surrounding what the health care tab will be is keeping businesses from adding full time jobs to their payrolls.

As it stands now, business owners with less than 50 employees are exempt from the federal mandate but all individuals will need proof of insurance by January 1.

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