Charlie Scheim, Attorney, Stevens & Lee presented the discussion topic Health Care Reform—What Do I Do Now? to Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce members Informative Breakfast Mixer at Keystone Villa at Fleetwood on Oct. 19.
“It’s a stimulating and thoughtful conversation that affects everyone,” said Chamber Executive Director Tammy Gore.
Scheim said he wanted to give an overview of the Affordable Care Act law, which he held up for members to see, a large book.
“I wanted to give an overview of the law and provide the rationale behind it without saying wither it’s a good thing or bad thing,” he said.
He explained that the law was created to address the problem that people with pre-existing conditions could not obtain health insurance. He said the trade off for insurance being required to offer insurance to those with pre-existing conditions was to require everyone to purchase insurance. The new law requires everyone to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.
“A lot of people are understandably don’t like the law, they’re afraid that it’s going to be expensive and they’re looking at strategies to minimize the penalties,” said Scheim.
He hopes members learned about the small employer tax credit. Up to 25 employees with wages of $50k or less pay at least half the premium of health insurance, said Scheim, get a 35 percent tax credit of the insurance right now and it goes up to 50 percent of the cost in 2014.
His recommendations to business owners?
“Small employers should explore the tax credit,” he said. “Larger employers will have to make the decision on whether to pay the cost of health insurance or pay the penalty.”
Scheim believes that the healthcare act is here to stay.
Chamber Board President Nancy Treskot explained that a committee chooses the speakers for the breakfast mixers.
“The Board of Directors look at finding the most hot topics that will affect business, large and small,” said Treskot. “As you heard, (small business with employees of) 1 to 25, they’re in a great position, 25 to 50 I don’t know what they’re going to do, 50 and up they have to make some financial decisions.
Employers that pay for employee benefits means a lot to people, she said.
Treskot hopes chamber members seriously go back and evaluate what they need to do, talk to an insurance provider, talk to their employees, talk to an insurance broker.
The Chamber also recognized Students of the Quarter. Look for them next week.